If you were to sneak a peek at Katera Woodbridge’s calendar for the next couple of months, you might get a hint of jealousy. A week in Australia followed by a week in New Zealand. Then, she’s off to Vancouver, BC, before flying to Berlin. Sound dreamy?
Look at little closer, and you’ll see dozens of appointments, amounting to 12- to 16-hour work days. “It’s not quite as glamorous as one might think,” says Woodbridge, who oversees sales and marketing for the Oregon Coast Visitor Association (OCVA).
This month, she’s gearing up for a number of tourism trade shows, including the Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show in British Columbia, where she will meet with members of the media, tour operators and other tourism professionals. Her goal? Get them excited about the Oregon Coast. “People have a lot of choices when they are planning an international vacation,” she says. “More than 60 destinations will be exhibiting at the Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show. My job is to make the Oregon Coast stand out as a premier destination for people seeking a meaningful experience in a breathtaking environment,” she says.
Woodbridge will be sharing a booth with representatives from Travel Oregon and other parts of the state, all of whom will be sharing information about Oregon’s great adventure travel experiences. She adds that she is focused on promoting sustainable tourism opportunities and promoting experiences that are educational and low-impact. “We’re not just trying to get more people to visit the Coast. We’re focused on attracting people who cherish the natural environment as much as we do.”
Woodbridge adds that global tourism trends are different from domestic trends — in beneficial ways. International tourists tend to travel with tour operators, spend more money, and stay for longer periods of time. They also often visit mid-week, which is attractive for most businesses along the Coast that are overwhelmed on the weekends.
She says there is also a trend in the tour operation business toward smaller group sizes, which means that boutique hotels, lodges and B&B’s can accommodate tour groups. “We’re seeing tours bring vans rather than busses,” she says. “Many more hotels and restaurants can accommodate groups of 12 versus groups of 50 or 60.”
Last year, OCVA and Travel Oregon hosted a first-of-its-kind global sales training on the South Coast, which shed light on how both organizations are working to gain the attention of media and tour operators in targeted countries, including Australia, New Zealand and Canada. “It was a huge success,” Woodbridge says.”
OCVA and Travel Oregon are planning to deliver at least one global sales workshop on the Coast this Spring. Details will be coming soon. If you have questions about global sales and/or reaching international markets, please reach out to Katera Woodbridge at sm@ThePeoplesCoast.com or 541-788-0310.
Paddle boarding on the South Coast by Facing Waves