At their most recent meeting, the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) Board of Directors voted unanimously (with 1 abstention) to support a legislative bill which will originate from Governor Brown’s office in support of a permanent 1.8% statewide lodging tax rate during the 2020 Oregon Legislative Session. Revenue raised by the statewide lodging tax is invested in Travel Oregon’s efforts to strengthen the economic impact of our state’s tourism industry. Oregon’s statewide lodging tax is currently collected at a rate of 1.8% with a reduction in the rate scheduled to take effect as of July 1, 2020 to a permanent rate of 1.5%.
“We appreciate Governor Brown’s proactive outreach to meet with ORLA and some of our key lodging stakeholders in person to discuss the merits of keeping the statewide lodging tax rate at 1.8% permanently,” said Jason Brandt, President & CEO of ORLA. “Our goals for lodging tax rate structures in Oregon are two-fold – protecting all statewide lodging tax resources to create return on investment for the industry through the efforts of Travel Oregon and protecting local lodging tax reforms passed in the 2003 Legislative Session.”
Oregon continues to experience healthy growth in tourism spending logging our ninth consecutive year of industry growth in 2018. Compared to 2017, visitor spending was up 4.2% reaching a record $12.3 billion. Industry employment was also up year over year by 2.9% to approximately 115,400. Year over year, hotel room revenue increased by 4.4% as well.
“We have seen firsthand what strategic investments in tourism promotion can do when industry tax dollars are put to their most effective use,” said Brandt. “With many other competing priorities in the Capitol, it is essential the association protects the appropriate use of these dollars at both the local and state levels. The economic impacts we are seeing are significant not just for our industry but for our public sector partners as well.”
The U.S. Travel Association tracks statewide economic impact throughout the country and assists states in quantifying the value of year over year tourism growth. The most recently available data notates Oregon’s tourism growth at 5.3% when comparing 2016 to 2017, further substantiating the value of healthy tourism growth for Oregon’s public sector. From 2016 to 2017, Oregon experienced visitor spending growth of $652 million. That increase in spending and associated payroll income tax increases equates to as many as 410 firefighter positions, 380 police officer positions, or 380 teacher positions.
ORLA continues to focus on the protection of local lodging tax dollars for tourism promotion and tourism related facilities in addition to support given to Governor Brown’s upcoming legislative bill for the statewide resource. Oregon’s local lodging tax structure can be complicated with over 110 different city and county jurisdictions collecting a transient lodging tax outside of the 1.8% statewide tax. Important guidelines have been in place for the past 16 years for how local lodging tax dollars can be spent. To clarify those parameters, ORLA recently produced a new instructional video to assist all stakeholders and the general public in better understanding the rules which govern local lodging tax resources.
The new video specific to local lodging taxes (not to be confused with Oregon’s 1.8% statewide lodging tax) can be viewed here:
For more information about the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association’s policies on transient lodging taxes, please reach out to Greg Astley, ORLA’s Director of Government Affairs, at email@example.com via email.
ORLA proudly announces the launch of the Oregon Tourism Leadership Academy (OTLA), developed in partnership with the Oregon Destination Association and Travel Oregon, and led by the industry’s top experts. The new annual experiential learning program is targeted to public and private sector tourism professionals who are seeking to polish their leadership and professional skills, continue to grow their career accomplishments, and make positive and lasting contributions to the state’s tourism economy and its success.
“We believe we are embarking on a leadership experience which will prove to be transformative for program participants,” said Jason Brandt, President & CEO for the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. “The academy will bring lasting personal and professional benefits to those who participate.”
Curriculum, field visits, and hands-on experiences are strategically designed to support and align with the state’s tourism goals and objectives which include four Strategic Imperatives:
The OTLA experience is designed for professionals currently serving Oregon’s tourism and hospitality industries. Interested program participants should have supervisory, managerial, or executive responsibilities in either the private or public sector. Applications from industry professionals who will soon be responsible for similar levels of responsibility are also encouraged to apply for the academy program. The strategic imperatives outlined above will serve as the program’s core themes each year. Each theme will receive focus as a part of four multi-day experiential learning programs designed to provide academy participants with comprehensive educational experiences. Each year, 20 academy participants will immerse themselves in the academy’s professional development curriculum alongside industry experts and facilitators.
For more information on the Oregon Tourism Leadership Academy, visit www.Oregonrla.org/OTLA.