Media Room



Governor's Tourism Conference
May 11, 2017

Thanks for having me today.

More importantly, thank you for all that the tourism industry does for Oregon. To say the least, travel and tourism impact the state and our people both economically and socially.

We know travel improves bonds within families and strengthens relationships.  And when children are exposed to new places, they tend to achieve more in school.

Travel is great for adults too. They are able to perform better at their jobs when they take a break and recharge. And, not surprisingly, people who can take time off from their busy lives enjoy the health benefits from the stress relief that vacations can bring.

Plus, with the abundance of outdoor recreation in Oregon and the state’s many natural splendors, we are uniquely positioned to positively change lives by connecting people with the outdoors.

What’s great is that while visitors grow a little bit each time they visit Oregon, our economy grows too.

 I am thrilled to announce that last year, the economic impact of Oregon’s travel and tourism industry set an all-time record. 

     • In 2016, travelers generated 11-point-3-billion dollars for the state’s economy. 
     • This is a 4-point-3 percent increase in spending and marks the seventh consecutive year of growth.
     • Domestic visitor air arrivals to Oregon grew 10-point-5 percent for the year.
     • The travel industry added more than four thousand new jobs in 2016, a 3-point-5 percent increase over the prior year. This means over one hundred thousand travel industry jobs
       across the state.
     • What’s more, this industry has contributed more than a half billion dollars in state and local taxes.

This economic impact is felt in every corner of Oregon. Overall, the travel industry is one of the three largest export-oriented industries in rural Oregon and one of the state’s top employers.

You are the people who made that happen. You are the faces of the tourism industry in Oregon. You are the reason travelers are inspired to choose Oregon as their favorite vacation destination.

Today I want to acknowledge one of you. One who has impacted the industry for nearly all of his ninety years.

It is impossible to cover all of his achievements and the positive impact he has had on Oregon. In an article last year in the Statesman Journal, it jokes that his biography is 11 pages long, single-spaced. We can’t go over all 11 pages here today, but we will try to recap the highlights of his career so that we can honor him today with the Governor’s Award for achievements in the tourism industry.  

A proud fourth-generation native Oregonian, Gerry Frank has deep roots in the retail, restaurant, political, civic, and business sectors of Oregon. Gerry has made his home in Salem for many years and, for one purpose or another, has visited nearly every community in every corner of the state.  For more than 28 years, Gerry has been writing for The Oregonian’s travel section and familiarizing us all with the nooks and crannies of Oregon.

A good part of his life as chief of staff to the late Senator Mark Hatfield involved traveling the entirety of Oregon’s geography on constituent swings. 

Today, at 95 years old, Gerry continues to travel and discover new Oregon gems to share with all of us.

Today, we honor Gerry for his lifelong love of everything Oregon. We celebrate his inexhaustible love for sharing his experiences and insight into that which makes our state one of the most beautiful and special places in the world.

Please join me in celebrating Gerry Frank!