South Coast Travel Impacts 2021

August 4, 2022

New data from a Dean Runyan Associates study for the Oregon Tourism Commission shows that total direct travel spending in Oregon fell by 48.5% in 2020 compared with 2019 totals. Preliminary data for 2021 show that the travel economy recovered much of the prior year’s losses to reach $10.9 billion. This was still $1.9 billion below 2019 levels. Travel spending and earnings showed stronger recoveries than travel-related employment, which by 2021 recovered less than one out of three jobs that were lost in 2020.

Travel spending rose from $296.3 million in 2020 to $385.7 million in 2021 at Oregon’s South Coast, accounting for about one-fifth of all Oregon coast travel spending. Accommodations ($124.7 million) and food service ($92.8 million) combined to account for 57% of travel spending at the South Coast last year. Local transportation and gas ($40.4 million); food store spending ($39.7 million); arts, entertainment, and recreation ($39.2 million); and retail sales ($37 million) made up the majority of the rest of South Coast travel spending in 2021. Travel spending in 2021 was $45.8 million below the 2019 total.
Employment attributed to travel spending reached 5,460 jobs at the South Coast in 2021, up from 5,010 in 2020. Industry employment generated by travel spending had a similar distribution as overall travel spending by industry. About two-thirds of all travel-generated employment was in the accommodation and food services industry. Approximately one-fifth of travel-generated employment was in the arts, entertainment, and recreation sector.
The 2020 to 2021 increase in travel spending of 30.2% was much faster growth than the average annual increase of 1.8% between 2003 and 2021. Earnings growth from travel spending rose 16.9% in 2021, also faster than the average growth rate of 3.9% since 2003. Tax revenue, mostly from lodging taxes and income tax payments attributable to travel industry income of businesses and employees, totaled $16.2 million in 2021. Local tax revenues increased by 28.4% in 2021, while state tax revenue attributable to travel spending rose from about $11.2 million in 2020 to about $13.4 million in 2021. There were almost 4 million overnight visitor stays at the South Coast in 2021, according to preliminary estimates.

While some don’t consider travel and tourism as an “export-oriented” industry, the Dean Runyan Associates report does a nice job of detailing why this sector does fit the criteria of an export-oriented industry, due to the influx of resources that flow into an economy from outside of the region. The travel impact report states the gross domestic product of the travel industry was $5.4 billion in 2021. Overall, the travel industry is one of the three largest export-oriented industries in rural Oregon counties with the other two being agriculture/food processing and logging/wood products.

For the complete report, where statewide and individual county data are available, go to:

Interactive tables and other Oregon data from the Oregon Tourism Commission:


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