Wasco County Visitors Logged Around 1.2 Million Overnight Stays in 2018

by Dallas Fridley

July 22, 2019

Dean Runyan Associates (www.deanrunyan.com) 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 $12.3 billion in 2018.

Overnight visitors to Wasco County logged nearly 1.2 million person-nights in 2018. More than one out of 10 persons (11.3%) staying overnight in Wasco County during 2018 were visitors not residents. Lincoln County led Oregon with a ratio of nearly three overnight visitors for every 10 residents (27.8%).
Oregon’s metro counties captured $9.3 billion or three out of four travel dollars in 2018 while rural counties earned $3.0 billion. Metro counties were less dependent on travel generated employment, with travel spending in urban Oregon (Benton, Clackamas, Columbia, Deschutes, Jackson, Josephine, Lane, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Washington, and Yamhill counties), producing almost 4 percent of its 2017 total employment. In rural Oregon counties, travel spending generated nearly 12 percent of its jobs in 2017. In Wasco County, travel spending generated 12.7 percent of its 2017 employment total.

Direct travel spending in Wasco County totaled $121.8 million in 2018 – a drop of 0.4 percent or $0.5 million from 2017’s $122.3 million. North Wasco County travel spending totaled $76.7 million (63%) and South Wasco County travel spending totaled $45.1 million.

Overnight visitors represented the biggest slice of travel spending, shelling out $80.3 million in 2018. Accommodations led all commodities purchased, capturing $37.4 million, followed by food services at $32.1 million. Together, accommodation and food services captured about 59 percent of Wasco County’s 2018 destination spending. Arts, entertainment, and recreation captured $16.9 million in visitor spending (14.3%), followed by retail sales at $13.1 million (11.1%) and food stores at $10.8 million (9.2%).
Accommodation and food services dominated Wasco County’s travel generated employment trends, producing 1,170 jobs in 2018, about 64 percent of the 1,830 generated by travel spending across all industries. Travel spending in arts, entertainment, and recreation generated 520 jobs, followed by retail trade with 120. Travel spending in North Wasco County produced 1,130 jobs or about three out of five, while South Wasco County supported 700 jobs or about two out of five. According to the report, travel spending generated about 12.7 percent of Wasco County’s total employment (across all industries) in 2017.

Overnight travelers spent about $147 in Wasco County per person, averaging $68 per day over a 2.1 night length of stay. Traveling parties averaged 2.7 persons, spending $187 per day or $390 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 $204 per Wasco County trip while staying 1.7 nights. Party size in the hotel, motel, and STVR group averaged 2.5 persons, spending $301 per day or $500 per trip. According to the report, $64,808 in 2018 visitor spending supported one job in Wasco County.


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