Umatilla County Travel Spending Down $57 Million in 2020

by Dallas Fridley

March 22, 2022

Dean Runyan Associates ( released The Economic Impacts of Travel in Oregon (2020p), a study detailing the significance of the travel industry in Oregon and its 36 counties. According to the study, direct travel spending in Oregon fell to $6.5 billion in 2020, a drop of 49.5% from 2019’s $12.8 billion. Here’s a link to the study at Travel Oregon:

Direct travel spending in Umatilla County fell to $123.4 million in 2020 – a drop of 31.4% from 2019’s $180.1 million pre-pandemic peak. Overnight visitors represented the largest slice of Umatilla County’s travel spending, shelling out $90.1 million (73%). Overnight visitor spending fell by $29.1 million (-24%), down from 2019’s $119 million.
Accommodations led all commodities purchased in 2020, capturing $32.9 million in Umatilla County visitor spending. Accommodation spending fell 21% in 2020, a loss of $8.7 million compared with 2019’s $41.6 million peak. Accommodation accounted for about 15% of Umatilla County’s $56.7 million travel spending loss.

Food services ranked a close second, with $32.7 million in 2020 visitor purchases, representing just over $1 out of $4 travel dollars. Sales in food services fell by $14.1 million in 2020, a loss of 30.3% compared with 2019’s $46.8 million peak. Food services accounted for 25% of Umatilla County’s 2020 travel spending losses.

Arts, entertainment, and recreation sustained Umatilla County’s most significant travel spending loss, dropping by $16.6 million or 61.5% in 2020. About $3 out of $10 lost travel dollars were taken from arts, entertainment, and recreation.

Overnight visitors to Umatilla County logged nearly 1.6 million person-nights in 2020. Overnight travelers spent about $228 in Umatilla County per person, averaging $100 per day over a 2.3 night stay. Traveling parties averaged 2.5 persons, spending $252 per day or $589 for the trip. Hotel, motel and short-term rental (STR) stays generated much higher visitor expenditures than other types of overnight accommodation.
Travel industry employment fell by 510 jobs in 2020, a loss of nearly 19%. Accommodation and food services dominated Umatilla County’s travel generated employment, much like its travel spending. Travel spending supported 2,200 jobs in 2020, with accommodation and food services totaling 1,440 or nearly 66%. Arts, entertainment, and recreation sustained a loss of 240 (-32.6%), dropping to 510 jobs, while accommodation and food services cut 230 (-13.7%).

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