South Coast Travel Impacts 2018

by Guy Tauer

May 22, 2019

New data from a Dean Runyan Associates study for the Oregon Tourism Commission shows that total direct travel spending in Oregon was $12.3 billion in 2018. The annual increase from 2017 was 4.2 percent in current dollars. In real, inflation-adjusted, dollars travel spending increased by 1.9 percent. Visitor spending, excluding transportation, increased by 2.5 percent in current dollars. This is the ninth consecutive year of growth in travel spending following the past recession.

Travel spending rose from $404 million in 2017 to $413 million in 2018 at Oregon’s South Coast, accounting for about one-fifth of all Oregon coast travel spending. Accommodations ($89 million) and food services ($120.5 million) combined to account for about one-half of travel spending at the South Coast last year. Arts, entertainment and recreation ($58.3 million); retail sales ($46.2 million); local transportation and gas ($45.8 million); and food store spending ($43.1 million) made up the majority of the rest of South Coast travel spending in 2018. 
Travel spending generated 5,440 jobs at the South Coast, up slightly from 5,330 in 2017. 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 accommodations and food services industry. Approximately one-fifth of travel-generated employment was in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector.
The increase in travel spending of 2.4 percent between 2017 and 2018 was slightly slower growth than the average annual increase between 2010 and 2018, which was 3.2 percent. Earnings growth from travel spending rose 6.3 percent in 2018, a bit faster than the average growth since 2010, at 5.3 percent annual average change. Tax revenue, mostly from lodging taxes and income tax payments attributable to travel industry income of businesses and employees, totaled $14 million in 2018. Local tax revenues have remained flat since 2010, while state tax revenue attributable to travel spending rose from about $8 million in 2010 to about $12 million in 2017 and 2018. There were 4.2 million overnight visitor stays at the South Coast in 2018, 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 $5.5 billion in 2018. 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 www.deanrunyan.com/doc_library/ORImp.pdf. Interactive tables and other Oregon data from Dean Runyan Associates can be found here.


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