Carissa Benson, 651-324-2326
(SALEM, OR) – Salem’s Destination Marketing and Management Organization, Travel Salem, released their 2020-21 Annual Report which touched on the highs and lows of travel to the area in the wake of COVID-19, devastating wildfires, and a ravaging ice storm. Worldwide the travel and tourism industry has been one of the hardest-hit by COVID-19 and continues to be impacted by the Delta and Omicron variants.
The Travel Salem Annual Report illustrates how Tourism in Salem and the Mid-Willamette Valley, albeit decreased, continues to be a major economic generator. Prior to COVID-19, visitors to the Salem region generated $638 million, and the tourism industry employed 7,100 people. In 2020, those numbers dropped dramatically to $315 million and 6,050 jobs which illustrates the importance of the tourism industry and the critical role it plays in bolstering the economic health of the Salem region.
Highlights of the report include the continued promotion of the region by Travel Salem to ensure the destination did not “go dark” during COVID-19. All advertising, digital, social media, and public relations efforts transitioned to inspirational messaging, reminding consumers that Salem and the Mid-Willamette Valley were here to welcome them back when they were ready to travel again. Safety protocols, wildfire information, and frequent regional updates were vital in keeping Salem top-of-mind with consumers.
The promotion of outdoor recreation, uncrowded places, and Top Chef’s finale held at Willamette Valley Vineyards helped bolster the region throughout the year. Salem and the Mid-Willamette Valley’s tourism industry was resilient and determined to survive an incredibly difficult year.
Angie Oneywuchi, Travel Salem’s President & CEO summed it up the best when she said, “Our local businesses and communities have faced numerous challenges and I’m in awe of the culture of collaboration and kindness we have seen as our community worked together supporting each other. Travel Salem is committed to shining a light on our region and announcing to the world that we are ready to welcome them with open arms.”
About Travel Salem
As the official destination marketing and management organization (DMMO) for Salem and Marion & Polk Counties, Travel Salem markets and promotes the Mid-Willamette Valley as a premier, year-round destination for conventions, events, sports, and leisure travelers. In 2020, there were more than 4.1 million overnight visits in the region, which generated $315 million in economic impact. Learn more at www.TravelSalem.com or call (503) 581-4325.