The first installment of a grant for $7,500 from Travel Oregon is on its way to the South Lincoln County Rural Tourism project. A “big check” facsimile was presented on Thursday, February 28, to representatives of the local project by Holly Macfee, Vice President for Global Brand Strategy, and Harry Dalgaard, Destination Development Strategist, both with the Oregon Tourism Commission dba Travel Oregon.
The communities of Waldport, Seal Rock, and Yachats participated in the Rural Tourism training program last spring. Action teams were formed to carry out several projects: development of a map of all non-motorized trails between Ona Beach and Cummins Creek; the Oregon Coast Gravel Epic, a cycling event which will take place October 5-6, 2013; We Speak, a training program for hospitality workers; and development of a plan for marketing this area to attract new visitors and encourage them to stay longer.
Macfee was in Yachats to share a “brand toolkit” developed by the Travel Oregon team and Travel Oregon’s agency of record, Portland ad firm Wieden + Kennedy, to help rural communities promote tourism through joint marketing efforts with their local destination marketing organization which, in the case of the coast, is the Oregon Coast Visitors Association (OCVA). The marketing theme is The People’s Coast, making generous use of the fact that thanks to a bill passed when Tom McCall was governor, all of Oregon’s 363 miles of coastline literally “belong to the people” with free and unlimited access for Oregonians and visitors alike—something that is not true in other coastal states, where ocean scenery is often marred by No Trespassing signs and barred to public access.
Tourism is a major source of employment in rural areas, and South Lincoln County is no exception. In 2010, tourism generated 19,950 jobs on the Oregon coast, and $1.5 billion dollars in revenue, the second biggest region in the state after Portland. Promoting our area helps attract new residents and businesses. This makes our Rural Tourism projects a vital part of the local economy, with widespread impacts.
Sue Woodruff, mayor of Waldport and co-chair of the Rural Tourism Umbrella Committee, says she is very excited to have these projects finally coming to fruition. “We expect great results from all of the action teams’ efforts. Tourism dollars help keep our local economy healthy. This allows us to diversify our economies to retain existing businesses and residents, and bring in new services and stores so that our communities remain vital and we don’t have to drive over to the Valley every time we need a new pair of shoes!”