A new year brings hope and aspiration for what’s to come. With 2020 behind us, and the state working diligently to distribute COVID-19 vaccines, I am optimistic about the year ahead. Recent numbers from Destination Analysts tell us Americans in a travel readiness state-of-mind soared nearly 12 percentage points to 58.6% - the highest it has been in the pandemic. Yet with this, comes the reality that, though we can see glimmers of light, we are not yet out of the tunnel. Therefore, Travel Oregon is continuing to develop strategic investments to support small businesses and organizations across the state that are responsive to the “next normal” being created by the pandemic -- all with an eye on working towards economic recovery and resiliency.
Today, I am pleased to announce that Travel Oregon is rolling out a suite of investments over the next few months. The first of these investments is a new program called “Destination Ready” which provides funding and assistance to destination-based organizations to bolster key tourism products and experiences for summer 2021. We believe that our support of visitor experiences that are COVID-19 appropriate will aid economic recovery and enhance local livability. You can find details about this exciting new program below. The launch of Destination Ready will be followed by the successive openings of our COVID-19 Emergency Response Grants, focusing on business continuity and resiliency and the Oregon Wine Country License Plate Matching Grants program this spring. We are also working through the creative process of an inspirational travel marketing campaign so we are ready to launch when it is safe to do so, the timing is appropriate, and our campaign will have the strongest economic impact. This will be paired with co-op direct investment opportunities for partners statewide.
As we envision new ways to support our tourism partners, we are also focused on reimagining tourism in Oregon through a strategic planning and agency organizational design process. In February, Travel Oregon is embarking on developing a multi-year approach to the rebuilding and stabilization of Oregon’s tourism economy. The feedback received from this year’s stakeholder survey helped build the foundation for the strategic plan, and targeted outreach efforts through the spring will provide input on priorities and needs. We look forward to continuing this critical dialogue and engaging you on our plans as they are fully developed.
I am grateful for you, the tourism partners we have across the state, and excited for all we will accomplish together in 2021.
CEO, Travel Oregon