What is Tourism?
Oregon law defines tourism as “economic activity resulting from tourists”. It’s not an industry as much as it is about who visits our community and where they stay and what they do when they get here. Activity that could not be generated by residents alone.
What impact does Tourism have on the Bend economy?
There are several ways to measure that impact that tourism has on our economy. The easiest way to measure is by employment. Over the last ten years employment in Leisure and Hospitality grew quickly in the early years and then has leveled off recently. Even with that tremendous increase in employment in Leisure and Hospitality, the graph below shows that there are thousands of jobs in other industries in Bend.
Employment in Bend 2001 to 2018
In 2018 there were 13,000 jobs at 720 individual businesses in Bend in Leisure and Hospitality industry. That’s 8 percent of all businesses and nearly 16 percent of all jobs.
Fun fact: employment in Leisure and Hospitality in Bend looks more like Austin, Texas than Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Tourism Promotion, what is that?
In Oregon Tourism Promotion is defined as all of the marketing and advertising and social media and visitor services. You can look up the actual definition here.
Successful tourism promotion is essential to running the City of Bend as room taxes are collected by lodging operators, remitted to the City of Bend, and then divided between funds for City Services and funds for Tourism Promotion. This is a big deal in Bend, where we depend on $7M from room tax revenue to ensure continued funding for essential Police, Fire and Streets services.
The balance of the funds, $3M are dedicated to Tourism Promotion.
There’s a City Council approved business and marketing plan created by Visit Bend each year. You can find the current plan here.
Who controls how Tourism Funds are allocated?
The Bend City Council controls the allocation of Tourism Funds. They adopt the allocation with support from the City’s Economic Development Advisory Board (BEDAB). Once approved by Council, it is the City’s contractor, Visit Bend that oversees the implementation including staffing the visitor center, deciding on which media markets to advertise in, and the types of activities and times of year that we want visitors to Bend to experience and love.
There’s lot of information collected and published each year about the success of previous years investment in Tourism Promotion. We also track who is visiting and what services and activities those visitors are most interested in. Feel free to check it out here.