MEDFORD, Ore. -- Today around 150 business owners, tourism professionals and public policy makers gathered for the 23rd annual Travel Southern Oregon Symposium in Medford.
The annual event covers five counties including; Jackson, Josephine, Douglas, Klamath and Lake Counties. The whole idea is to bring together everyone who is involved in the tourism industry and have a set day of conversation about Southern Oregon tourism.
“We have a little over 12,000 jobs that are related to tourism,” says Brad Niva, the Executive Director of Travel Southern Oregon, “in this last year, the five-county region generated $1.58 billion from visitor spending. We have a very big product here and I think a lot of people who aren’t in tourism don’t realize how big of an industry we have here.”
Even with previous smoky summers, tourism numbers are still climbing.
“We’re seeing numbers bumping up every year,” says Niva, “Crater Lake, consistently year after year, is setting new records of for visitation as well as Wildlife Safari up in the Roseburg area, Hellgate Jetboats, things like that.”
Speakers flew in from all over the country to speak at today’s symposium on a wide variety of topics, everything from social media marketing to google analytics and web design.
“It’s a really great way to kind of unify the region,” explains Alison Keeney, a symposium attendee and employee of Travel Oregon at the State Tourism Office, “all of the different areas can come together and learn about what everyone is doing and then leverage the message and just make Southern Oregon a really great destination to visit.”