Eco-tourism, recreation

With its mountains, rivers, and scenic vistas, Oregon and East Multnomah County, which serves as the gateway to the Columbia River Gorge, are particularly well positioned to leverage the great outdoors for great economic gain.

“Outdoor recreation provides an enormous boost to the state's economy with an estimated $12.8 billon in annual consumer spending, 141,000 direct in-Oregon jobs,  $4 billion in wages and salaries, plus $955 million in state and local tax revenue,” according to Outdoor

Nationwide, there are more than 6.1 million American jobs created and supported by the outdoor industry.

In Oregon, tourism also brings in big bucks.

According to an April 2014 report on Oregon tourism prepared for the state’s tourism commission:

• statewide travel spending totaled $9.6 billion in 2013, a 4.1 percent increase over 2012.

• travel-generated employment (93,900 jobs) increased by 2.9 percent in 2013, and employment growth also accelerated in each of the past three years.

• overall, the travel industry is one of the three largest export-oriented industries in rural Oregon counties, with the two others being agriculture/food processing and logging/wood products. In 2013, the Gross Domestic Product, or GDP, of the travel industry was $3.5 billion.

• plus, there are secondary impacts. “The re-spending of travel-related revenues by businesses and employees supported 42,300 additional jobs outside of the travel industry with $1.5 billion in earnings in 2013. Most of these jobs were in various professional and business services.”

Outdoor recreation in the form of sports tournaments can also be major sources of tourism and economic benefits, especially for smaller cities. Sports tourism for East Multnomah County is just a matter of organizing and marketing our parks, fields, and facilities that provide suitable sites for such tournaments.

Parks as sites for special events and festivals also attract tourists, as do parks with landscaped plantings and distinct design that can be considered living works of art.

In short,  American Trails sums it all up nicely.

“Outdoor recreation is a growing and diverse economic supersector that is a vital cornerstone of successful communities that cannot be ignored. Most importantly, outdoor recreation is no longer a ‘nice to have,’ it is now a ‘must have’ as leaders across the country recognize the undeniable economic, social and health benefits of outdoor recreation.”

As for East Multnomah County, all forms of tourism – from sports-tourism to eco-tourism – can put “heads in beds", rental cars on roads, and fill tables in restaurants.