Visit Bend announces it will be the pass through entity for monies from Travel Oregon’s Capacity & Small Project Grants program, allowing neighboring destinations to gather much-needed data regarding resident sentiment as it pertains to tourism.
Prinveville, Hood River, Pendleton, Ashland, Medford, Lincoln City, Grants Pass, Seaside and McMinnville will now contract with OSU Sustainable Tourism Lab to conduct studies the community sentiment of tourism. Visit Bend will continue its relationship with OSU Sustainable Tourism Lab through the same program.
In 2021, Visit Bend was the first destination management organization in the state to partner with OSU Sustainable Tourism Lab to study stakeholder perception. Born out of Visit Bend’s desire to collect, understand and address key metrics related to resident sentiment regarding tourism, the effort is one step toward making necessary changes that preserve a certain quality of life for those who live in Bend.
Visit Bend projects that measuring the findings locally against the findings in other communities can reveal macro trends or key data points that show a path forward for the region on the whole, which in turn will band communities together in their sustainability efforts.
“For years, the travel industry has had a blind spot when it comes to the community’s perspective on tourism,” said Kevney Dugan. “Without this important data point we cannot have a full understanding of the unintended impact of tourism, such as congestion, environmental degradation and community stress. We realize the deep impact that we can have as DMOs by reflecting on this information and making measurable shifts in how we promote ourselves so that our children and their children can enjoy the destinations we hold dear. That is why Visit Bend has advocated for other communities to work with OSU Sustainable Tourism Lab.”
Studies of resident sentiment aim to build relationships with destinations, quantify community sentiment across a diverse set of destinations, measure factors that contribute to the sentiments uncovered and then solve for key challenges.
“Communities throughout the world have grappled with the positive and negative impacts of tourism,” said Todd Montgomery, Visit Bend board member and OSU Cascades Executive-in-Residence in Hospitality Management. “OSU Sustainable Tourism Lab is proud to partner with Bend and other Oregon destinations that focus on sustainable development that protects the environment and benefits the community.”
Travel Oregon created the Capacity and Small Project Grants program to focus specifically on supporting destination marketing/management organizations and federally-recognized tribal entities with capacity building and targeted projects to enhance and expand economic impact through travel and tourism. Funds are intended to develop and refine skills, systems, structures and strategies so the organization can successfully fulfill its mission and achieve outcomes that are more impactful. Funds also support diversity, equity and inclusion training and coaching to support these entities as they advance racial equity within their organizations and through their work.