TOURISM STRATEGY TOUTS OREGON

October 22, 2001 11:00 pm
ROAM HOME: The Eastern Oregon Visitors Association, of which the Union County VCB is a part, has a new advertising campaign. ().
ROAM HOME: The Eastern Oregon Visitors Association, of which the Union County VCB is a part, has a new advertising campaign. ().

From AP and local reports

The Oregon Tourism Commission announced a campaign Monday to urge Oregonians to vacation in-state, replacing the dollars of tourists from afar who may still have the jitters about flying.

With a tagline of Its Easy to Take a Great Vacation in Oregon, the lottery-funded commission will spend $200,000 from the Oregon Economic and Community Development Project to buy ads in major newspapers in the state beginning in November.

With an annual economic impact of $6 billion and 83,000 employees, tourism is one of the states top money-earners.

Last week, the tourism commission announced another plan to woo vacationers from closer to Oregon, by shifting the states advertising campaign from a national one to one targeting people within the region who can drive here rather than fly.

In that spring campaign the state will pay some $425,000 for ads in West Coast magazines and Western editions of national magazines.

Summer likely will tell whether the two campaigns are successful.

Janet Dodson, executive director of the Union County Visitor and Conventions Bureau, said the new emphasis should be good for Northeast Oregon.

In-state tourists have been a focus of the VCB for some time. The new campaign should help build on that, Dodson said.

The Eastern Oregon Visitors Associations advertising theme for the year is Forget Rome, Italy. Roam Eastern Oregon, and it features a photograph of Wallowa Lake.

Statewide, innkeepers are reporting varying degrees of recovery since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and say much of it already is due to regional business.

Immediately after Sept. 11 we had quite a few cancellations, Id say 300-400 room nights, said Frank Wilson, manager of the Riverside Motel Suites in Bend. They ranged from September right on through Christmas.

People from out of the area immediately changed their plans. But instate tourism has held up pretty well, he said We seem to be getting more reservations for November and December from Oregon and Washington than in the past.

Wilson said a few out-of-area reservations now are coming in. For a while there we didnt get any.

I just got off the phone with a guy from Seattle, he said. They normally fly to Colorado for skiing but this year they are driving down here.

Robert Eaton, manager of The Inn at Spanish Head in Lincoln City, said his establishment, too, felt a drop-off of business in September.

This month our business is just a little bit better than it was a year ago, he said. It seems Oregonians want recreational time and they enjoy the Oregon Coast.