COOS BAY — Travel Oregon recently released its 2017 visitor spending data for Coos County, detailing specifically how travel and tourism dollars were spent in our regional economy.
A total of $261.1 million was spent in Coos County in 2017, including $61.5 million on accommodations, $40.6 million on attractions, and $3 million on air travel to our area.
“Our local $261 million was $8 million increase over the last year, and we have been going up steadily since the recession,” executive director of the Coos Bay-North Bend Visitor and Convention Bureau, Janice Langlinais said.
Locally, travel and tourism promotion is coordinated by the Coos Bay-North Bend Visitor and Convention Bureau with support from Travel Southern Oregon Coast and the Oregon Coast Visitors Association.
From 2008 to 2009, at the beginning of the Great Recession, tourism dropped by 16 percent in Coos County. The following year it increased by 9 percent, and has grown steadily since then.
“Back then we were at $210 million in visitor spending. Before the recession our highest year for tourism was $217 million, and we’re at $261 million now,” Langlinais said.
Travel Oregon divides the state into seven tourism sections. The entire Oregon Coast generated $2 billion in state revenue, and accounts for 22,700 jobs. Throughout the year the state brought in $11.8 billion in total revenue.
“I think that we have so much potential here on the South Coast, people are starting to discover the Bay Area. I can only foresee us continuing to grow,” Langlinais said.
One of the things Langlinais said our area is working to improve is our off-season tourism.
“Part of that is coming up with interesting promotions or events that people in a 50-to-100 mile radius will come out and do for the weekend during the off season,” Langlinais said.
According to Travel Oregon, tourism is the one of the three largest industries for employment in rural counties across the state.
Langlinais said that the strongest tourism attraction in Coos County is likely fishing, as people come from all over to fish on the Oregon coast during the summer.
“It’s been pretty impressive the number of boats that have been out on the water over the last four days. All the expensive rigs and trucks that are parked out on the Charleston Marina so just how many people come here to fish. I would say that fishing is probably our number one tourist attraction,” Lanlinais said.
One Travel Oregon report said that every dollar spent on state tourism marketing generates $237 in visitor spending, and $11 in state and local tax revenue.