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Heritage Attracts Travelers Who Spend Money in Oregon Communities

Cultural and heritage experiences are important factors in attracting travelers to visit Oregon. Once here, these cultural heritage travelers spend nearly 60 percent more than the national average for cultural heritage travelers.

Those are two of the findings in a 2012 study of cultural heritage travelers organized by the Oregon Heritage Commission. The Oregon Cultural Trust provided funds for the study, while Travel Oregon provided technical assistance.

"Cultural and heritage organizations have believed for many years that their work was important for their communities and for the tourism industry,” says Kyle Jansson, coordinator of the Oregon Heritage Commission. “This study proves that cultural heritage travelers spend hundreds of dollars for lodging, restaurants, transportation and other services, and that means jobs for Oregonians.”

The study, conducted by Mandala Research LLC, showed that Oregon’s cultural heritage travelers spend nearly 60 percent more per person than they do nationally. These travelers contributed an estimated $19.6 billion to the state economy on their most recent trip to the state, according to the study’s findings.

A cultural traveler is defined as “a person who travels to experience the places, people, activities and things that authentically represent the past and present, including cultural, historic and natural resources.” This means they visit historic sites, arts venues, state and national parks, ocean beaches and other places also enjoyed by Oregonians.

A far higher percentage of Oregon travelers than those elsewhere said cultural heritage activities were important to their destination choice. They like to engage in a range of activities, including partaking in regional foods and wines, appreciating the authenticity of what Oregon has to offer.

The report concluded that it is important for Oregon to capture the past sense of place, and to weave this iconic place into the present and future. The report is available below in six parts.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

Here are a few of the key statistics in the study.

Communities and organizations wanting to launch a heritage tourism effort will want to consult the following publication and website.

Heritage Bulletin 18: Pay Attention to Tourist Needs

Heritage Tourism: Preserving and Sharing

Heritage Tourism Workshop (Springfield June 2014)
     Opening Presentation
     Travel Oregon Presentation
     Oregon Travel Experience Presentation