This North Coast Tourism Summit, scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 25th at The Old Mill Event Center in Garibaldi, is the official start to the North Coast Tourism Studio. The purpose of the summit is to create a shared vision for tourism along the North Coast. Anyone from Astoria to Pacific City that is interested in helping to shape the future of tourism in the region is encouraged to attend.
“The North Coast is fortunate to have spectacular natural resources with vibrant, diverse communities to share with visitors. Yet the increased visitation to our region has also created some challenges, and it’s vital that we come together as a region to address them,” says Donna Quinn, board president of the Oregon Coast Visitors Association (OCVA) and director of sales and marketing at the Cannery Pier Hotel & Spa in Astoria. She sits on a 28-person steering committee representing 24 organizations that’s been working with Travel Oregon staff to organize the North Coast Tourism Summit.
“How do we mitigate traffic for locals and visitors? How do we educate visitors to be respectful of our local culture and our unique ecosystem here and encourage stewardship? These are some of the issues I am looking forward to discussing at the North Coast Summit and working on as a member of the North Coast Steering Committee,” Quinn says.
Following the one-day summit, participants and other residents of Clatsop and Tillamook counties will be able to sign up for monthly workshops (October – January) on a variety of subjects, all of which are aimed at helping the region move closer to its vision for tourism. Discussion topics throughout the program will focus on local issues and best practices to help the region increase the economic impact of tourism while preserving the destination’s unique sense of place. Each workshop will be offered in a different town and will be coupled with an evening networking session.
“Travel Oregon has enjoyed working with community members from the North Coast to shape this Tourism Studio,” says Kristin Dahl, vice president of destination development at Travel Oregon and the creator of the Oregon Tourism Studio program. “Each destination faces unique challenges, and has unique resources available to solve those challenges. On the North Coast, we’re already seeing that there’s a strong commitment to collaboration and local problem solving.”
Once the North Coast Tourism Studio is over in February 2019, the steering committee will form a number of action teams, which will move high-priority projects forward. Those action teams will be able to apply for a total of $25,000 of grant funding from Travel Oregon that must be matched dollar for dollar with local investments. “This model has worked really well in most regions that have hosted Tourism Studios. There are a number of exciting success stories emerging from the Columbia River Gorge and the southern Oregon Coast, both of which have hosted Studios in recent years,” Dahl says. “For example, the outdoor recreation action team that formed on the South Coast has leveraged Travel Oregon funding to bring in more than $800,000 to support the development of new hiking and mountain biking trails by engaging youth and utilizing trail building as a base for workforce development.”
“The aspect of the Tourism Studio model that I really like is that it invites everyone from a region — residents, business owners, elected officials — to sit down and work on solutions together,” said Kevan Ridgway, Cannon Beach resident and former CEO of Vancouver Coast & Mountains, one of six regional destination marketing organization affiliated with Destination British Columbia. He co-chairs the steering committee with Nan Devlin, Piliaro