As more Oregonians get shots in their arms and the weather here begin to increasingly warm, everyone clearly has the same thing on their mind: vacation.
Travel Oregon says it is more than ready to help you execute those plans.
The agency dedicated to promoting travel throughout the entire state is gearing up for an economic recovery that includes tourism. Based on those expectations, it will provide $2.3 million to a variety of entities that typically cater to those guests through its Competitive & Recovery Grants Program.
Eligible entities include local guides and outfitters, ports, federally recognized tribes and nonprofits. The money would ideally go toward the creation of outdoor infrastructure, like public spaces for people to eat and drink as well as clear signage directing people to attractions.
It comes as no surprise that the pandemic crushed the state's hospitality and tourism industry in 2020. During a typical year, Oregon would see more than 1 million visitors who inject $12.8 billion dollars into the economy. But that spending fell by 58 percent compared to 2019. The result was a loss of nearly 82,000 jobs in the leisure sector—nearly 47 percent of all payroll positions shed as a result of COVID-19.
This is Travel Oregon's second major investment in 2021 following last month's announcement of a $913,000 Destination Ready program, which awarded funds to more than 30 projects focused on the development and maintenance of experiences that are safe to engage in during the COVID-19 outbreak.
And in case you need any help looking for things to do this spring and summer, the agency is about to roll out a new program called "Why Guides." The online registry will point users to numerous outdoor recreational opportunities throughout the state as active as fly fishing on the Metolius River in Central Oregon or as leisurely as wine tasting on patios across the Willamette Valley.
That feature is expected to debut in early April on Travel Oregon's website.