Oregon Tourism Studio
- Thirty-six rural destinations across Oregon
Oregon is a broad and geographically diverse state. Its 100,000 square miles of terrain span craggy ocean bluffs on the Pacific Ocean, moss-laden forests of the volcanic Cascades range, the high desert canyons of Central Oregon and the ancient grass prairies of Eastern Oregon. Across this landscape, rural communities have been learning to forge new ways of life after the decimation of the timber industry and the decline of fisheries in the Pacific Northwest.
Visionary leaders in these communities who had their eyes to the horizon could see new possibilities. New economies were emerging around travel, tourism and, particularly, outdoor recreation. But these local leaders lacked the industry knowledge and coordination within their communities to position and stand themselves up as viable travel destinations.
Travel Oregon is charged with expanding the economic impact of travel and tourism in Oregon. With the passage of the Oregon Tourism Investment Proposal in 2004, the organization acquired the resources to invest in supporting meaningful tourism development. In 2007 Travel Oregon’s Kristin Dahl began designing and building programming that would support sustainable tourism development; she essentially pioneered the process that would become known across the industry as “destination development.”
After an extensive listening campaign, Kristin brought clarity and focus to what rural communities needed: knowledge about the growing tourism industry, technical assistance to increase specific skills – and most importantly, help in uniting diverse stakeholders behind long-term visions and collaborative action to drive meaningful change. She brought together a team of professional experts and industry leaders to develop a program that would train community leaders and empower community-driven tourism solutions, driving localized economic development. This program, the Oregon Tourism Studio, was the first of its kind in the industry.
Between 2009 and 2020, the Oregon Tourism Studio empowered 36 destinations across Oregon, training more than 2,250 business and community leaders. Each community-based program unified local leaders behind common regional visions, and emboldened them to undertake projects that resulted in significant improvements in the visitor experience – elements such as new or improved trail systems, innovative off-season events and new local business opportunities. The Studio established destination-scale leadership networks, and invigorated action teams across the state that continue to develop new experiences and manage the complexities of high-use visitor destinations.
In recognition of the innovative approach and notable results, Kristin and the team at Travel Oregon received a number of high-profile awards, including National Geographic’s Leader in Sustainable Tourism Award (Platinum Level) and the National Geographic Traveler World Legacy Award.
For each destination:
- Supported rural community leaders to develop high-functioning, multi-sectoral leadership teams, typically consisting of 12-15 stakeholders
- Designed and produced customized programming for each destination that typically included the following community-engagement components:
- Region-wide/destination-scale visioning and scenario planning session
- Trainings on relevant industry niches including bicycle tourism, outdoor recreation tourism, agritourism, cultural heritage tourism and destination marketing
- Action planning
- Leadership network design
- Supported the leadership team with formalizing its structure and launching action teams focused on priority projects
- Provided strategy and technical assistance with project/program design for hundreds of community-based tourism projects
- Watch a short 3-minute video produced by Travel Oregon about the impact of the Oregon Tourism Studio
- Read more about the Oregon Tourism Studio program and where it has been delivered on Travel Oregon’s industry website
- Future iQ
- Walden Mills
- Metropolitan Group
- Great Destination Strategies
- Sustainable Travel International
- U.S. Forest Service
- Rural Development Initiatives
- Pandion Consulting
- Mercy Corps Northwest
- Local Small Business Development Centers
- Regional Economic Development Districts
Crosscurrent makes the complex simple.
01Set Up a Discovery SessionContact us to schedule a free 30-minute discovery session.
02Create a Road MapTogether we’ll sketch a road map to get a feel for the investment required.
03Get to WorkOnce the road map is clear and the details agreed on, we’ll get right to work!