Lane County Travel Spending Continues to Grow

by Brian Rooney

July 22, 2019

Data from research firm Dean Runyan indicate that spending in Lane County’s travel and tourism industry continued to grow in 2018, the ninth year of growth after dropping off during the Great Recession.

The graph shows that travel spending in Lane County grew throughout the 1990s and peaked in 2008 at $717.0 million. As the Great Recession took hold in 2009, travel spending dropped $39.7 million, or 5.5 percent, to reach $677.3 million. Since then, travel spending has grown each year, topping $1 billion for the first time in 2018.
The growth rate over the recovery period since 2009 was 50.8 percent, which was well ahead of the U.S. inflation rate of 17.0 percent, showing that travel spending is growing well beyond the rate of inflation. During the most recent year, from 2017 to 2018, travel spending increased $70.5 million, or 7.4 percent, compared with 4.2 percent statewide. Travel spending growth has accelerated compared with 2017 when the rate of growth was 2.8 percent.

Lane County had the second highest level of direct travel spending of Oregon’s 36 counties in 2018. Multnomah County was first with $4.1 billion.

The largest share of spending in 2018 was in food service (29.3%) followed by accommodations (18.5%); retail sales (13.2%); arts, entertainment, and recreation (12.4%); local transportation and gas (10.4%); food stores (9.2%); and visitor air transportation (6.9%).

Most travel spending occurred in the eastern portion of the county, which includes the Eugene-Springfield area, at $879.0 million (86.1%). The remaining $142.2 million of travel spending occurred in the coastal portion of the county.

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