In early April 2021, the Oregon Coast Visitors Association (OCVA) committed to working as an organization and region on climate action. In the past eight months, the OCVA team has dived into research concerning tourism’s carbon footprint, opportunities for the tourism sector and has also interviewed around 15 government agencies, organizations and businesses who are currently invested in climate action.
OCVA conducted these interviews in order to better understand existing resources, strategies and alignment that a small nonprofit like OCVA could fit into. Some of the key takeaways include:
- Small business perspectives (like our restaurants, hotels and shops) are not currently being represented in support programs, grant programs and climate change and resilience strategies.
- Many industries like seafood and dairy are already working on climate resilience plans and actions.
- There are a lot of funding opportunities that currently exist for infrastructure upgrades but require multi-stakeholder cooperation.
- All agencies and organizations interviewed were very supportive and excited to see tourism approaching this topic.
Additionally, OCVA has been invited to an international destination monthly meeting where fellow destinations like Visit Scotland, Visit Valencia, Visit Gloucestershire, West Sweden Tourist Board and others gather to share resources, ideas and challenges. This group has also been on several online panels together including an online discussion called “Catalysing A Decade of Climate Action in Global Travel and Tourism” which was part of the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP 26.
While OCVA has been learning from and networking with these international partners, they have also been presenting and facilitating discussions at home on the Oregon Coast. In early October, there were two workshops and an evening keynote at the annual People’s Coast Summit about Oregon Coast Tourism and Climate Action. The team has also presented at the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association Hospitality Conference, NW Vacation Rentals Professional annual conference and State of the Coast Conference.
The team is currently organizing the research, interviews and potential climate actions that are on the table so they can host community discussions this winter. OCVA will rely on community partners to prioritize these actions and learn what local DMOs, Chambers and associations are also doing in this space.
Want to learn more about this work? Check out the resources below!
- RESOURCES: OCVA Climate Action Webpage
- WEBINAR: Catalysing A Decade of Climate Action in Global Travel and Tourism
- PRESENTATION: Tourism and Climate Action Watch Party (Evening keynote at People’s Coast Summit)
- PRESENTATION: Oregon Coast Tourism and Climate Action Workshop (Workshop at People’s Coast Summit)
- PODCAST: Oregon Coast Tourism and Climate Change: Where does tourism fit in? | Big Tourism