Tourism figures decline: Union County lags behind neighboring counties in transient room tax dollars

By Bill Rautenstrauch, For The Observer April 14, 2014 12:59 pm

If transient room taxes are a primary indicator of the health of a regional tourism industry, Union County appears to be an underachiever — though things might be looking up.

According to figures from the Oregon Department of Revenue, annual lodging tax receipts increased in Baker, Grant, Umatilla and Wallowa counties during the seven-year period 2004-2011, but in Union County they decreased.

What’s more, Union County is one of only three counties statewide to show decreases in TRT revenue in the years 2004-2012. While Oregon as a whole grew lodging tax revenue by 48 percent, Union County’s collections fell by almost 8 percent.

In Northeast Oregon, Wallowa County — home to Wallowa Lake and touristy Joseph — had the most robust performance for the years 2004-2011, showing nearly a 62-percent increase in lodging tax receipts.

See more in Monday's edition of The Observer.