Umatilla County Travel Spending Rebounds to $165.5 Million in 2017

by Dallas Fridley

November 29, 2018

Dean Runyan Associates ( recently released Oregon Travel Impacts, a study detailing the significance of the travel industry in Oregon and its 36 counties. According to the study, direct travel spending in Oregon reached $11.8 billion in 2017.

Travel spending was concentrated in Oregon’s urban areas, although urban Oregon was less dependent on travel generated employment. Travel spending in urban Oregon counties, including Clackamas, Lane, Marion, Multnomah, and Washington, generated about 2 percent of its 2016 total employment. In all other Oregon counties, travel generated employment represented a much higher 8 percent of total employment. In Umatilla County, travel spending generated around 6 percent of the 2016 employment total.
Direct travel spending in Umatilla County totaled $165.5 million in 2017 – an impressive gain of nearly $19 million or 13 percent over 2016’s $146.6 million. Overnight visitors represented the biggest slice of travel spending, shelling out $105.7 million in 2017. Food services led all commodities purchased, capturing $42.2 million, followed by accommodations at $35.7 million. Together, accommodation and food services captured over half (52%) of Umatilla County’s 2017 travel destination spending. Arts, entertainment, and recreation captured $25.8 million in visitor spending (17.2%), followed by retail sales at $17.1 million (11.4%), and food stores at $13.9 million (9.3%).
Accommodation and food services dominated Umatilla County’s travel generated employment trends, producing 1,530 jobs in 2017, about 62 percent of the 2,480 generated by travel spending across all industries. Travel spending in arts, entertainment, and recreation generated 680 jobs, followed by retail trade with 190. According to the report, travel spending produced about 6.1 percent of Umatilla County’s total employment in 2016.
Overnight travelers spent about $130 in Umatilla County per person, averaging $61 per day over a 2.1-night length of stay. Traveling parties averaged 2.6 persons, spending $159 per day or $335 for the trip. Hotel, motel, and short-term vacation rental (STVR) stays generated much higher visitor expenditures than other types of overnight accommodation. Hotel, motel, and STVR guests spent $170 per trip to Umatilla County while staying 1.7 nights. Party size in the hotel, motel, and STVR group averaged 2.5 persons, generating $251 per day or $471 per trip. According to the report, $61,852 in 2017 visitor spending supported one job in Umatilla County.

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