The Tourism and Hospitality industry will play an even more important role in Oregon’s future as it is recognized for its continued contribution to the socio-economic success of the state and will help determine the success of Oregon’s sustainability reputation and experience.

Industry Overview

Tourism & Hospitality includes entertainment, recreation, accommodations, culinary and meeting facilities & venues, cultural & heritage locales, retail, transportation, marketing and public relations. Notable cluster members include McCormick and Schmick, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Oregon Zoo, Widmer Brothers Brewing, Oregon Coast Aquarium, Timberline Lodge, McMenamins, Wildlife Safari, Sunriver Resort, Ponzi Vineyards, Oregon Convention Center, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and The Bite of Oregon. Customers include Oregonians, U.S. residents, and international visitors.

Tourism & Hospitality by the Numbers


Tourism & Hospitality

Economic  Impact

Industry earnings increase: 37.5% (2003-2011)
Cluster Employment: 92,400 (2011)
Direct Visitor Spending: $8.8 Billion (2011)
Cluster Employment Growth: 8.2% (2003-2011)

Source: Oregon Travel Impacts 1991-2011, Dean Runyan Associates

Cluster Strengths

  • A strong economic contributor to all areas of Oregon – Tourism & Hospitality is a traded sector industry that is made up of a diverse set of interrelated businesses. Ninety-five percent of Oregonians believe the industry is important to Oregon’s economy.
  • The largest traded sector employer in the state – Tourism & Hospitality provides great careers, flexible work schedules, and entry-level positions that teach transferable job and customer service skills.
  • Visitors build our state’s reputation for environmental stewardship and natural recreation. 77% of Oregonians see tourism and hospitality as environmentally friendly and 82 percent believe the industry improves the state’s quality of life.
  • A business recruitment and retention tool – New business starts in Oregon often occur because the owner visited as a tourist first. In the 1990s, according to a study, 70 percent of new business starts in Central Oregon resulted from the owners first visiting the region on vacation. Intel says that recruiting employees to Oregon is easy; getting them to relocate away from Oregon is difficult.

Cluster Challenges

  • Educating policy makers and other industries about the importance of tourism and hospitality to Oregon’s socio-economic fabric.
  • Promoting understanding of the total tourism resource locally and statewide. We are challenged to create increased public/private successes, and to help local governments maximize the return on investment of revenues raised through lodging taxes.
  • Counteracting the erosion of Oregon’s well-trained workforce. State support for existing university-level Tourism & Hospitality degree programs must be affirmed and fortified in order to assure future leadership capacity while securing the relationship between higher education and the industry.
  • Getting the industry to recognize that its vast and diverse components are part of one cluster. Largely made up of small, fiercely independent entrepreneurs, the effort requires creativity, time, and resources.
  • Communicating the positive aspects of the industry’s employment and upward opportunity. Tourism and hospitality jobs are often the first entry into the workforce, providing opportunities to establish foundational skills.

Recent Accomplishments

  • The Tourism and Hospitality Consortium is working to tell the story of the tourism industry. A monthly “Oregon Travel Barometer” of key industry indicators is now available to industry members as well as the public.
  • Oregon has implemented Q-Care customer service training, a free, online program designed to train front-line Tourism & Hospitality employees and connect them with local tourism information. This is a behavioral program which is transferable across industry lines and is useful in almost any business sector.
  • Coming out of the recession, the Tourism and Hospitality workforce has been one of Oregon’s leading areas of job growth and the continued successful public/private partnership in statewide marketing has resulted in enhanced visitor spending. Direct visitor spending in Oregon has increased from $6.3 billion in 2003 to $8.8 billion in 2011.

Key Initiatives

  • Maintain existing state and local funding structure that was implemented during the 2003 legislative session. HB 2267 was passed during that session; it instituted a 1% statewide lodging tax to fund the work on behalf of the state by Travel Oregon (Oregon Tourism Commission). HB 2267 also constructed investment guidelines for the use of local lodging tax revenues.
  • Educate people outside of the tourism cluster about the industry’s socio-economic impact. Secure recognition of tourism as a core traded-sector cluster with enormous potential for the Oregon economy.
  • Create synergies among diverse marketing entities. Use destination marketing organizations (DMOs) to get the word out and centralize the branding efforts.
  • Participate in future decisions related to statewide land use law. Understand and communicate future issues resulting from changing the land use environment.
  • Continue to protect Oregon’s tourism investment structure in upcoming state legislative sessions. This program will assure the continued success that the industry has enjoyed since 2004 by leveraging local and statewide private and public investment.
  • Build on the successful results of the Watershed Project. A statewide strategic planning cycle to discuss the next ten years for Oregon’s tourism industry is planned for the winter and spring of 2012-13.

Cluster Organizations

  • Travel Oregon (Oregon Tourism Commission)
  • Central Oregon Visitors Association
  • Oregon Department of Agriculture
  • Oregon Destination Marketing Organization
  • Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife
  • Oregon Department of Transportation
  • Oregon Travel Information Council
  • Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association
  • Travel Portland
  • Travel Lane County
  • Oregon Parks & Recreation Department

Cluster Contact

Scott West
Tourism & Hospitality Industry Consortium
Travel Oregon