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Oregon reports record $14 billion in visitor spending last year, as industry jobs recover to pre-pandemic levels

Travel Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Oregon Tourism Commission, dba Travel Oregon, is celebrating National Travel and Tourism Week (by announcing that travel industry employment in Oregon recovered to pre-pandemic levels in 2023, employee earnings grew significantly and visitor spending reached an all-time high of $14 billion — powering communities, connections and industries across the state.

Here's the rest of Travel Oregon's news release Monday announcing the report findings:

NTTW, which takes place from May 19-25 this year, is an annual tradition that honors travel’s essential role in stimulating economic growth, cultivating vibrant communities, creating quality job opportunities, inspiring new businesses and elevating the quality of life for Americans every day.

recent economic impact report by Dean Runyan Associates and released by Travel Oregon highlights that the travel and tourism industry created 2,180 new jobs in 2023, bringing total industry employment back to 118,500, a number not seen since the pandemic caused the loss of 25,000 travel and hospitality jobs across the state. Industry earnings—the amount of money earned by employees and proprietors of the tourism industry—also grew to $4.5 billion, a 6.9% increase from the previous year.

The amount of money spent directly on travel in 2023 rose to a record-high $14 billion, an increase of 0.6% year over year. The largest increase in spending came in the food service sector ($197 million) while the largest reduction in spending came in local transportation and gasoline, which saw decreased prices compared to 2022 (-$118 million). The modest rate of growth signifies industry stabilization compared to the rapid rise in spending between 2021-2022 as the tourism industry emerged from the pandemic. 

“We’re encouraged once again by the strength and resiliency of Oregon's tourism industry,” said Todd Davidson, CEO of Travel Oregon. “Visitor spending reached a record-breaking $14 billion in 2023 and employment saw a full recovery from the pandemic, when thousands of tourism and hospitality jobs were lost seemingly overnight. These milestones underscore the vital role tourism plays in driving Oregon's economic growth, supporting over 100,000 well-paying jobs across the state, and creating connections between people, communities and cultures.”

Tax revenue from travel activity in Oregon increased by 1.5% overall in 2023, amounting to $10 million more than in 2022. Local tax revenue saw a slight decline of 0.4%. In contrast, state taxes increased 2.9%, supported by growth in taxable income.

The analysis of in-state vs. out-of-state visitor impact showed that U.S. residents of states other than Oregon accounted for approximately 59% of visitor spending, while Oregonians accounted for about 36% of visitor spending in 2023. International spending has yet to fully recover, with international visitors accounting for approximately 4% of travel spending in the state, down from 10% in 2019.

As Oregon's tourism industry stabilizes and continues to grow, and with visitor spending reaching an all-time high, it remains a driving force for economic opportunity across every region of the state. Oregon's diverse destinations cater to a wide range of visitors’ interests throughout the year, from traditional experiences like outdoor recreation, culinary adventures, and cultural exploration to emerging travel trends such as dark sky tourism, electric vehicle road trips, wellness retreats, and agritourism.

Travel Oregon collaborates with stakeholders and partners to optimize economic benefits while prioritizing equity, sustainability, and respect for the unique ecosystems, cultures, and places that define Oregon. This collaborative approach ensures that the state's tourism industry not only thrives but also contributes to a more resilient and inclusive economy.

Article Topic Follows: Business

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