Tourism is big business in Oregon. That message was presented during “Tourism 101” a seminar presented by Travel Oregon representatives at the Four Rivers Cultural Center in Ontario, Thursday, and as well as how local communities can use tourism to bolster their economies. Tourism accounts for more than 109,000 jobs for 2016 in direct employment in Oregon, in such places hotels/motels and restaurants said, Carole Astley, director of Industry and Visitor Services for Travel Oregon, who led the seminar.
According to a study by Dean Runyan Associates, a consulting firm for Travel Oregon, direct travel spending for the year was $11.3 billion. International tourists are a major part of what is giving the state an economic boost. Canada, Japan, Great Britain, Germany and Australia are at the top of the list of nations represented by tourists coming to Oregon, but China could pushing its way to the top.
According to Travel Oregon data, over a five-year period, 2010 to 2015, the increase in spending by Chinese tourists coming to Oregon rose 438 percent, while the next nearest country was Taiwan at 62 percent. One of the programs that Travel Oregon is offering is “China Ready” online training in sales and service, helping people in the service industry get ready to greet Chinese visitors and to know how to make them feel welcome, Astley said.
Tourists from the afore mentioned countries, as well as such places as Korea and Sweden, are among those stopping at area visitor information centers in Oregon and Idaho. The Ontario Welcome Center, located just inside the Oregon border along Interstate 84 welcomes about 200 people per day, Karen Cleaver, manager said.
She estimated the number of visitors who have stopped in at the center is ahead of last your, and staff is already seeing move in ahead of the eclipse, touring the region. She has sent more people to see the Owyhee Reservoir and the Cultural Center than ever before, Cleaver said. She also promoted the idea that local hotels/motels should be listed in the state travel publications.
“Being in the Travel Guide is a must,” she said.
Travelers, when looking for a place to stay or eat, usually go down the list in the travel guide to choose a place a stay, and then ask for information at the center. One thing that is key is getting people to stop to see the area and stay awhile on their way through to someplace else, Cleaver said, including looking at sagebrush.
“They want that experience,” she said.
People coming through are also looking for dedicated bike trails, Cleaver said. While there are plenty of backcountry roads, she said, people are asking for trails dedicated for bikes, specifically. Travel Oregon has a program to help business become bike-friendly, and, after businesses are accepted into the program, they can put up Travel Oregon signs which designate them as being welcoming toward cyclists.
“Bicycle-related tourism contributes $400 million into Oregon’s economy annual,” according to information from Travel Oregon.
Travel Oregon’s Global Ready China online courses
Produced and managed by Global Ready Education, Travel Oregon is offering two Global Ready China online courses for industry members to build and deepen their understanding of the China travel market:
Get Ready To Work With Chinese Visitors
Travel Oregon is excited to share two new online courses to prepare Oregon partners for working with Chinese visitors. The China Ready: Sales and China Ready: Retail modules are available, free of charge, to anyone interested in working with this fast-growing travel demographic. Each course takes 1-2 hours to complete and can be done online at your own pace. Space is limited so sign up now!
China Ready: Sales
This module will help users understand how to do business with China and Chinese travelers. You will develop an understanding of the motivations behind travel as well as the Chinese consumers’ decision making process. Because there are several nuances in the Chinese supply chain in travel trade, this program will help users navigate who is in the supply chain and how it operates. Find out how to work through key steps of engaging with the complex, but lucrative, China market through effective sales and marketing.
China Ready: Retail
This module will consider shopping habits of the Chinese Traveler, helping users understand why the Chinese are so keen on shopping in the US and what goods and merchandise they are looking for. You will learn shopping habits and how their belief system and social media influences purchases. Find out how to make your store more friendly for Chinese shoppers with useful retail tips.
Available to Travel Oregon partners via industry.traveloregon.com
Try the Global Ready Education China Online Course Demo to learn more