SALEM — Journey Oregon, the state’s tourism workplace, is offering $2.three million in grants to fund tasks throughout the state to assist spur tourism as Oregon tries to get well from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Native governments, port districts, federally acknowledged tribes, nonprofits and Oregon-based tour operators and guides can apply for as much as $100,000 in funding to assist tasks centered on enhancing infrastructure to securely welcome again vacationers because the pandemic continues.
The company will fund tasks that assist out of doors recreation, assist guides and tour firms function, allow paid occasions and points of interest to securely transfer ahead, and enhance enterprise districts, together with funding tasks that create new out of doors areas for guests.
The appliance course of will stay open till March 31. Tasks have to be accomplished by the top of November.
“The grants that we’re offering at present are going to help communities and assist companies in being well-positioned to have the ability to provide these nice Oregon experiences in a really secure means,” Journey Oregon CEO Todd Davidson stated. “That’s what we’re centered on, ensuring of us know they’ll journey in Oregon safely.”
The brand new initiative comes after Journey Oregon final month awarded $913,000 to fund 34 tasks throughout the state centered on enhancing customer experiences in the course of the pandemic. Among the many recipients of that grant cash was Portland’s financial growth company, which obtained $50,000 to enhance the town’s inexperienced loop.
Roughly 87% of American vacationers have plans to journey within the subsequent six months, the best share because the begin of the pandemic, in accordance with a current examine by market analysis agency Longwoods Worldwide.
Nevertheless, Oregon’s tourism trade has been decimated in the course of the pandemic and it may take years for it to completely get well.
Greater than 1 million individuals go to Oregon in a typical yr, fueling a $12.eight billion tourism trade, in accordance with Journey Oregon.
However customer spending all through the state dropped by almost 60% final yr as tourism dried up amid the pandemic, in accordance with the company. Tourism could possibly be sluggish to rebound, particularly if worldwide journey stays restricted and huge occasions and conventions are sluggish to return. Oregon’s leisure and hospitality trade has shed 37% of its jobs in the course of the pandemic, in accordance with the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“We anticipate that we’ll most likely not see restoration again to 2019 ranges till no less than 2024 and it could possibly be 2025,” Davidson stated.
Whereas sure components of the state noticed tourism rebound final summer time as leisure journey picked up, resort occupancy in Portland plummeted from almost 75% in 2019 to 34% in 2020, worse than anyplace else within the state.
The decline in tourism throughout the state may have extreme monetary implications for cities and counties.
“The journey and tourism trade is a main driver of Oregon’s financial system,” Davidson stated.