PORTLAND, Ore. – February 25, 2020 – The state of Portland’s tourism industry is solid, with steady gains made across all major measurements followed by industry and municipal leaders, according to Travel Portland. On Tuesday, Feb. 25, the official destination marketing organization for the city of Portland presented its 2020 State of the Industry address at the Portland Art Museum. The annual event provides insight to the current economic impact of regional tourism as well as to planned initiatives aimed at bolstering the industry well into the future.
Travel Portland monitors the health of the region’s tourism industry — encompassing the cities of Portland and Gresham as well as Washington, Columbia and metropolitan Clackamas counties — by tracking a variety of performance indicators. Year-over-year increases were reported in six key metrics: spending, earnings, employment, local taxes, state taxes and total taxes. The greatest jump for 2019 versus 2018 was in earnings, which increased 7.6%. State taxes followed, with growth of 5.1%, and spending rose 4.8%. Additionally, the industry added workers, increasing jobs by 2.0%.
“Portland’s tourism industry has made astounding gains in the past decade, and we are looking forward to continuing in this vein given the greater capacity of our lodging community and the enhancements to our local infrastructure,” said Jeff Miller, president and CEO of Travel Portland. “Such progress combined with the growing awareness of Portland as someplace different and desirable will cement our region as a top destination for both business and leisure travelers.”
Portland’s tourism industry provides local, statewide lift
According to Dean Runyan Associates, Portland’s tourism industry has made significant gains since 2010 in contributing to the economic health of the region. Earnings have nearly doubled: increasing 94%, or from $808 million in 2010 to $1.6 billion in 2019. In the same time period, tourism spending has grown 52%, from $3.7 billion in 2010 to $5.6 billion in 2019. Industry employment also received a 38% boost, from 26,700 in 2010 to 36,930 workers last year.
The industry’s success has had a wider impact, as local and state budgets have received a lift. In Portland, for example the local 15.3% transient lodging tax on accommodations means additional dollars for the city’s general fund as well as resources to improve cultural and tourism infrastructure. Year-over-year, local taxes edged up 1.2% to $139 million in 2019, while state taxes experienced an increase of 5.1%, also to $139 million. Since 2010, total tax receipts have doubled, reaching $278 million in 2019.
Travel Portland readies for new challenges
Noting the hotel construction boom and concurrent increase in short-term rentals in recent years, Travel Portland acknowledged some challenges to the local hotel industry. However, with investments made in tourism infrastructure — including the five-year renovation plan for Portland International Airport, recent upgrades to the Oregon Convention Center, and the opening of the Hyatt Regency Portland at the Oregon Convention Center — the organization believes that the region is well positioned to handle growing demand and attract more conventions and special events.
Moreover, Travel Portland has refreshed its marketing approach. The city has clearly evolved over time, and in response, the destination marketing organization has pivoted to more clearly communicate the one-of-a-kind experiences that can be found. A new website and new visitors guide delve into the stories of the city and provide potential visitors with a range of options to consider. This winter, Travel Portland also introduced a new campaign, titled “Go Somewhere Different,” to emphasize Portland’s uniqueness and opportunities for connection.
State of the Industry presentation
A copy of the full 2020 Travel Portland State of the Industry presentation is available at https://www.travelportland.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/2020-02-25-State-of-the-Industry-FINAL-FOR-WEBSITE.pdf
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, visit www.TravelPortland.com.