Tourists are flocking to Oregon and Portland, especially from overseas. Travel Oregon said the local tourism industry grew about 14 percent last year.
The first time an overseas tourist visits the United States, they go to New York City or Disneyland in California. But the next time, they want to see authentic America, according to tourism officials.
“There’s a lot of buzz, not only in the U.S., but around the world, about Oregon — the coastlines, the forests, the parks, the rivers, Oregon’s wines,” said Roger Dow, President of the U.S. Travel Association. “I think Oregon wine and food and beverage has done a tremendous amount. Plus the uniqueness. There is no other Portland.”
When the economy tanked in 2008, most states slashed tourism spending. But 2009 was Oregon’s 150th birthday, so the state maintained a promotional budget.
The average international traveler stays about 17 nights and spends about $4,300, officials said.