From Oregon Investment Guide 2024


From overnight stays to total spending, tourism is hitting new heights.

Angel’s Rest Trail in the Columbia River Gorge.
Photo by Satoshi Eto/Courtesy of Travel Oregon


ourism is big business in Oregon, and it’s getting bigger as time goes by. The latest numbers prove it.

According to the Oregon State Parks system, 2023 proved to be the second-busiest year on record for outdoor visits in state history. OSP announced March 5 that the state park system received an estimated 52.2 million day-visits to its 180 parks, historic sites and natural areas last year, falling just short of the record 53.6 million visits in 2021.

5T7A7304 (600web).jpgWizard Island is located in Crater Lake National Park in Southern Oregon.
Source: Travel Oregon

“We are incredibly grateful to our visitors, volunteers, partners and all those who cherish and support Oregon State Parks,” Oregon Parks and Recreation Department Director Lisa Sumpton said in a statement. “We could not steward these outstanding natural, scenic, cultural, historic and recreational sites without your support.”


Did You Know?

  • Oregon has no sales tax.
  • Oregon is for lovers. The state’s birthday is Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1859.
  • Oregon is the ninth largest state in the union, covering 98,380 square miles.
  • Oregon is bordered by Washington, Idaho, Nevada, California and the Pacific Ocean.

A State of Wonder

  • Crater Lake, at 1,932 feet deep, is the deepest lake in the United States.
  • At 7,913 feet deep, Hells Canyon is the deepest river-carved gorge in North America.
  • The John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is one of the richest fossil sites in the world.
  • The largest concentration of wintering bald eagles can be found in Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
  • The Malheur Wildlife Refuge is home to the largest freshwater marsh in the U.S.


Harris Beach State Recreation Area in Brookings received more than 1.7 million day-use visitors in 2023, making this beach the most visited state park for the year. It was part of a trend that saw the parks on the Pacific Coast register the most visits for both day visits and overnight campsite stays.

These results occurred just one year after Oregon set an all-time high for tourism in 2022. Travel Oregon, the state’s official tourism agency, reported that statewide travel spending reached a record $13.9 billion in 2022, a rise of 26.5% from the $10.9 billion in visitor spending recorded in 2021.

Travel spending alone created 16,450 direct jobs in Oregon in 2022, the agency noted, adding that the industry as a whole employs 117,360 people across the state.

“Our collective efforts are creating a stronger, more equitable and future-ready Oregon economy where all visitors feel safe, respected and inspired as they travel throughout our beautiful state,” Travel Oregon CEO Todd Davidson said.

Central_Coast_Fatbike_Florence_VanWeeldenFat bike around Florence on the Central Coast of Oregon.
All photos courtesy of Travel Oregon

The beneficiaries of this traffic and corresponding spending are local governments. According to Travel Oregon, local governments around the state collected $45 million in travel activity taxes in 2022 — an increase of 21.2% from 2021. During the same period, wages paid to Oregon employees in the tourism sector increased by 23.9% from 2021 to 2022, reaching a new high of $821 million for the year.


History and Heritage

  • Oregon has 14 National Historic Districts and four National Historic Trails.
  • The Historic Columbia River Highway, also known as the “King of Roads,” was designated the first scenic highway in the U.S. and is a National Historic Landmark.
  • Oregon has more than 7,000 bridges, including 53 covered bridges. One of Portland’s many nicknames is Bridge City.
  • Nine historic lighthouses and one light ship dot the Oregon Coast.
  • Oregon is home to 10 Native American tribes.

Quirky Tidbits

  • There are more than 750 vineyards in Oregon, growing 72 different varietals of wine grapes.
  • Oregon has the only Scenic Bikeway program in the nation and a total of 17 Scenic Bikeways throughout the state.
  • Letting an attendant pump your gas is mandatory; you may not pump your own in the state, except in rural areas and at night.
  • The Tater Tot was invented in Oregon by two brothers, Nephi and Golden Grigg, the founders of Ore-Ida. Oregon is also home to the original corn dog.


  • Oregon’s highest elevation point is Mt. Hood at 11,239 feet.
  • Oregon has more than 6,000 lakes and 112,000 miles of rivers and streams.
  • Oregon has more than 5,900 registered campsites along with 230 state parks and 13 national forests.
  • Nearly half of Oregon’s total area — close to 30 million acres — is forested.
  • There are 16 known hot springs in Oregon.


About 60% of total visitor spending in Oregon came from out-of-state visitors, Travel Oregon noted. About 36% came from Oregonians; the rest came from international visitors.

In order to keep those numbers growing, the state is investing more dollars to upgrade accessible tourism. Last November, Travel Oregon announced a $3.6 million grant to make popular tourist spots around the state more accessible. One example is a renovation of historic cabins in Antelope to make them ADA-compatible. Meanwhile, the High Desert Museum in Central Oregon is receiving grant funds to pay for marketing initiatives aimed at Native American audiences.

Willow_Wit_15-(2)-Admin’s-Mac-Studio_600x.jpgWillow-Witt Ranch is located 13 miles northeast of Ashland in Southern Oregon’s Cascade Mountain Range high country. It offers farm-stay lodging options including walk-in tent sites, furnished wall tents, farmhouse studio and private Meadow House.
Source: Travel Orego

Ron Starner
Executive Vice President of Conway, Inc.

Ron Starner

Ron Starner is Executive Vice President of Conway Data, Inc. He has been with Conway Data for 22 years and serves as a writer and editor for both Site Selection and the company's Custom Content publishing division. His Twitter handle is @RonStarner.


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