Tourism is up in Southern Oregon

Southern Oregon's lodging industry continued to show resilience in November with occupancy and room demand growing by 12.4 percent over the previous year in both categories. The increases reflected a boost in tourism-related businesses nationally.

"The industry is very healthy, and we're thrilled with that," said Carolyn Hill, chief executive of Southern Oregon Visitors Association. "We're hoping for a strong winter. Snow sports are a big draw to the region with Crater Lake and Diamond Lake. Of course, transportation can be a challenge this time of year."

The region's hotels, motels and bed and breakfast establishments were 44.5 percent full during the month, and revenue per available room reached $29.67, a pick-up of 11.3 percent. Total room revenue during November for Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Coos, Curry, Douglas and Lake counties hit nearly $7.7 million, also an 11.3 percent gain.

For the year, Southern Oregon lodging has seen a 5.6 percent rise to 53.6 percent; revenue per room is $39.40, a 5.3 percent increase; and room demand is up 6.4 percent.

The U.S. Commerce Department today said spending nationally was up 8 percent for travel during the third quarter, and nationwide tourism employment reached its highest growth level since the spring of 2002.

"That totally jibes with what we've seen on the revenue and occupancy side," Hill said. "Statewide, the results have been strong the past two quarters."

Hill attended an Oregon Tourism Commission meeting earlier this month at Mount Hood, where it was reported the agency in charge of promoting Oregon nationally and internationally had a $700,000 surplus from its share of the state lodging tax.

"One of the reasons our revenue has grown has been that the Willamette Valley and Portland metro areas have been really strong," Hill said "Those are the regions that put gas in the engine for everyone. Their success is important to our success."

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