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Destination marketing organization recaps visitor industry impacts with annual “State of the Industry” presentation

PORTLAND, Ore. – February 27, 2019 – Travel Portland, the official destination marketing organization for the city of Portland, Oregon, presented its 2019 State of the Industry address Wednesday, Feb. 27, at the Portland Art Museum. The annual program provided an overview of the short- and long-term growth and impact of the region’s tourism industry, as well as the organization’s plan for shaping the visitor industry going forward to meet the needs of visitors, partners and the community. 

The Portland region’s tourism industry – encompassing the cities of Portland and Gresham as well as Washington, Columbia and metropolitan Clackamas counties – experienced growth across the full range of performance indicators in 2018. Compared to 2017 results, the area saw increases in visitor spending, earnings and jobs. Additionally, local and state tax coffers received a boost, ensuring that the economic benefits of the industry are felt throughout the region.

“The mission of Travel Portland is to generate travel demand that drives economic impact for Portland, and another year of growth indicates that we continue to succeed in our mission,” said Jeff Miller, president and CEO of Travel Portland. “While we are pleased with the results of 2018, the visitor industry does not stand still. From changes in how travelers access and act on information to new hotel rooms coming online to increase supply, the evolving dynamics of our industry are challenging us to keep a step ahead in how we market and manage for all our stakeholders.” 

Tourism industry ramps up local impacts

In 2018, according to Dean Runyan Associates, spending by visitors to the Portland metro area grew to $5.3 billion, a 4.0 percent increase over spending in 2017. Earnings rose to $1.5 billion, representing a 9.6 percent increase over 2017. Industry employment ticked up at a faster rate than the previous year – 3.0 percent versus 2.2 percent the previous year – and now counts 36,360 jobs in the region.

Local and state tax revenues from the Portland hospitality industry increased in 2018 as well. Local tax revenues were up 2.6 percent, to $137 million, and state revenues were up 6.8 percent, to $130 million, for a total tax revenue contribution of $267 million. Taking a longer-term view, local tax revenues from the Portland area’s tourism industry have more than doubled from 2010 to 2018, with revenues growing from $67.2 million to $137.2 million in that timeframe; concurrently, state tax revenues have grown 80.1 percent from $72.3 million to $130.2 million. 

Portland hotels experienced modest year-over-year declines in performance indicators, according to Smith Travel Research. Occupancy rates in the central city hotels dropped slightly in 2018, to 78.5 percent from 79.8 percent. Average daily rates declined from $182.58 in 2017 to $180.32 in 2018, and revenues per available rooms also took a dip, from $145.73 in 2017 to $141.51 in 2018. Short-term rental listings continue to hover over 4,500 at year-end 2018, slightly above the count at year-end 2017.

Portland continues to attract domestic and international travelers, as both groups posted strong numbers with Portland International Airport. The airport reached 19 million domestic passengers in 2018, an increase of 3.77 percent over 2017. International passengers also rose a significant 15.4 percent to 862,000 in 2018. In the past six years, international passengers for the airport have nearly doubled, with 2012 levels reported at just 444,000 passengers. 

Travel Portland prepares for new opportunities

Portland’s travel industry is well positioned for the future. Keynote speaker Steve Hennis of Hotelogy noted that there is a positive long-term outlook for air travel to the area and for convention business; for the past six fiscal years, actual convention room nights booked have exceeded forecasts. Additionally, according to Smith Travel Research, Portland ranks among the top 15 U.S. hotel markets in terms of occupancy (no. 9), average daily rate (no. 11) and revenue per available room (no. 10). While the hotel industry is in a strong position, new supply anticipated in the coming years is expected to impact metrics in the near-term.

To keep Portland’s visitor industry on track today and well into the future, Travel Portland has developed a master plan that incorporates the qualities travelers, partners and community members desire in a location. The plan involves promoting experiential features throughout the community, including makers’ movements, neighborhood business districts, cultural diversity and community engagement; investing in destination development, such as through tourism development funds and focusing on elements like Portland’s festivals and food scene; and participating in advocacy, from environmental and transportation issues to vulnerable community considerations. 

State of the Industry presentation

A copy of the full 2019 Travel Portland State of the Industry presentation is available at

About Travel Portland

Travel Portland is the official destination marketing organization for the city of Portland, Oregon. Its mission is to strengthen the local economy by marketing the Greater Portland region as a preferred destination for meetings, conventions and leisure travel. For more information on Travel Portland, visit