New Lodging Tax To Leverage Tillamook County’s Tourism Potential for New Economic Development.

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Tillamook County joins Oregon’s tourism industry with tour-de-force program, to increase economic vitality in the coastal Oregon county.

“While our dairy industry is healthy, our forest products and marine industries do not hold the promise of years past,” says Economic Development Chair Doug Olson, “Tourism, especially in the off season, brings dollars and jobs to Tillamook County.”

The overarching goal of this new tourism development initiative is to round out the shoulder seasons by letting people know of the many opportunities for adventure, recreation and relaxation that exist September through May; cultivating a stabilized flow of visitors that contribute to the economic vitality of the community.

In January of 2014, citizens voted, in an overwhelming majority, to implement a new transient lodging tax. Community leaders were ready to act. Experienced tourism project manager and industry veteran John Hope-Johnstone was brought in to advise on the project.

A nine-member Tourism Advisory Committee was formed to guide implementation of the new program, with over $1.7 million expected revenue from the new tax in the first year. The committee vets the program and makes recommendations to the Economic Development Council, who, in turn, report to the County Board of Commissioners.

Branding consultant Bill Baker, of Total Destination Marketing worked with the community to develop a tourism brand consistent with the unique flavor of the county’s towns, villages, amazing coastline, and breathtaking nature.

“Tillamook County has some tremendous assets from the beach to mountains and it’s great that we can share them with the rest of the world. The release of our new web site and destination marketing organization will help us share what we locals already know,” says County Commissioner Mark Labhart.

The new tourism website, by Tillamook Design, has a captivating, real life feel. It is mobile friendly and responsive, allowing visitors to search without complication and delivers straightforward information.

Other elements of the program launch include TV and print advertising, online videos, an optimized internet marketing campaign and social media profiles.

A national search for a Tourism Director has been completed and the chosen candidate is expected to be announced within the next few weeks.

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Amber Dennis

John Hope-Johnstone
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