EUGENE, Ore. – An Oregon lodging tax increase approved on Thursday by lawmakers is heading to the governor’s desk for approval.
According to the CEO of Travel Lane County the volume of tourists visiting Lane County is generating jobs and income for businesses in the area.
The new bill would increase lodging taxes to 1.8 percent from 1 percent over the next four years for every room occupied starting July 1. Once the four years are over, Travel Oregon said lodging taxes would decrease to 1.5 percent.
The tax increase will help fund marketing and programs to help attract more tourist to the state.
The money from tax increases would be collected by the Department of Revenue and then be turned over to Travel Oregon to disperse the funds. Travel Oregon would receive 65 percent of the funds to market state tourism programs, 20 percent would go to regional tourism programs, and 10 percent would go to competitive grant programs for projects that may include tourism-related facilities and sporting events.
The seven regions include: Central Oregon, Eastern Oregon, Greater Portland, Mt. Hood/Gorge, Coast, Southern Oregon, and Willamette Valley. Lane County falls in two regions which include the Willamette Valley and the Oregon Coast.
The CEO of Travel Lane County, Kari Westlund, said the extra marketing in Lane County would bring even more visitors.
"We are creating increased travel demand and we are attracting more and more visitors into this area," said Westlund.
Westlund said the organization is targeting three types of tourist: leisure travelers, convention planners, and sporting event planners.
The CEO of Travel Oregon, Todd Davidson, said that every dollar put into the state and local marketing is an investment.
"We have done some independent research that shows that every dollar we spend in our media advertisement campaign here domestically generates over $237 in new visitor spending," said Davidson.
According to Westlund in 2014 tourism generated nearly 10,000 jobs in Lane County.