Travel Oregon has awarded more than $350,000 to local agencies and businesses for projects that will enhance and expand the tourism experience while preparing communities and visitors for safe travel during COVID.
The money is part of $2.4 million that was awarded across the state by Oregon’s tourism commission.
For this grant cycle, Travel Oregon received more than 400 applications with a request greater than $18 million.
“These projects directly support Oregon’s tourism economy, from iconic Oregon attractions like the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, to outdoor trail development, to retrofitting outdoor events to meet public health standards,” said Todd Davidson, CEO of Travel Oregon. “Many of these entities have been closed or were unable to hold their event in the last year because of Covid. Our goal is to support these businesses, events and attractions as they operate safely, restore vibrancy and create economic stability in communities across the state.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted Oregon’s tourism economy.
Dean Runyan & Associates’ preliminary Economic Impact of Travel in Oregon report finds that in 2020, employment related to travel declined by 22.1% and that total travel spending declined 49.5% from $12.8 billion in 2019 to $6.5 billion.
Travel Oregon has developed a variety of programs to support recovery in tourism-related and supported industries as part of the state’s larger economic recovery strategy.
The local beneficiaries are:
BendFilm ($26,400) to host the drive-in and virtual programming components of its annual Film Festival in October.
Central Oregon Trail Alliance ($25,000) to construct a new multi-use trail near Sunriver to help disperse crowds from heavy-use areas and accommodate the use of adaptive mountain bikes.
City of Maupin ($35,443.12) to improve a local park to increase outdoor space for dining and physical space for trip preparation for local raft companies.
Cog Wild Bicycle Tours ($7,962) to upgrade outdoor meeting areas in Bend and Oakridge to provide ADA accessible porta-potties and hand-washing stations.
Discover Your Northwest ($75,000) to purchase and install a double vault toilet for Skull Hollow Trailhead on the Crooked River National Grassland.
Maupin Area Chamber Endowment ($100,000) to install a regulation eight-lane polyurethane track and related spectator facilities replacing the current track located on South Wasco County School District property.
Prineville-Crook County Chamber of Commerce ($11,622) to install a bike hub at the visitor center at the Prineville Crook County Chamber of Commerce.
Sunriver Music Festival ($20,000) for costs associated with producing a fully outdoor two-week music festival in Sunriver.
Sunriver Nature Center & Observatory ($50,000) to enhance outdoor amenities throughout its eight-acre campus and install interpretive and wayfinding signage in high-use outdoor areas.