Metro venues rake in $878 million over 2017
Investing in Portland's tourism amenities is paying off for government agency Metro.
Metro's visitor venues — the Oregon Convention Center, Portland Expo Center, Oregon Zoo and Portland'5 Center for the Arts — induced $878 million in spending during 2017, according to a new analysis of economic impacts.
The venues hosted 1,445 events during the year, which translated to 8,470 jobs and $33.3 million in tax revenue.
More 3.5 million average annual visitors spend time in Metro's visitor venues participating in business-to-business events, attending arts performances, discovering wildlife and enjoying lifestyle and hobby shows. Combined, the venues create an economic impact on the region and state, contributing to the creation of thousands of jobs across the metropolitan area.
"I am proud that our venues offer economic benefits, enhanced cultural experiences, engagement with the arts for Title-1 schools and progress in conservation efforts for our region. In addition, the tax revenue generated helps pay for schools, safety and roads," said Scott Cruickshank, general manager of Metro's visitor venues.
Travel Oregon monitors and monetizes the collective benefit of travel and tourism to the Portland region. According to Oxford Economics, growth in travel and tourism employment in a destination tends to be followed by a 1.5 percent rise in broader employment.
"The expectation and social contract with the residents of the Metro region is that the Oregon Convention Center attracts and supports activities that create jobs and produce robust economic impacts. I'm proud to report that we continue to deliver on our promise to the public and in fiscal year 2017 we (the OCC) generated more than $626 million of total spending," said Craig Stroud, executive director of the Oregon Convention Center.
In Oregon, national convention attendees spend an average of $404 per day.
Since the August groundbreaking of the Hyatt Regency Portland adjacent to the convention center, convention sales teams have been proposing to future city-wide conventions that have historically overlooked Portland as a destination because of a lack of a hotel near the convention center as a headquarters.
Since November, 2017, 10 of 18 proposals have been accepted for future years, representing 68,337 room nights. This initial business translates to an increase of $27.6 million in visitor spending to the region for these future bookings.
The Hyatt Regency Portland is estimated to generate $56 million in state taxes and $47 million in city and county taxes in its first 10 years of operation.
Renovations at the Oregon Convention Center are scheduled to begin in August to enhance the offerings and experiences of future convention guests.
That's not the only place Metro is reinvesting.
The Oregon Zoo continues to have the highest attendance of any ticketed attraction in the state, with more than 1.5 million visits in FY16-17, and its popularity is expected to grow with the completion of the eight major projects made possible by a community-supported zoo bond measure.
"The most recent of our projects — the Education Center — opened in March. I am thrilled about the conservation education programs and partnerships this new space is making possible," said Dr. Don Moore, Oregon Zoo director.
Also, the Arlene Schnitzer Hall recently had its iconic Portland sign restored for $500,000 by TubeArt.
Portland'5 Centers for the Arts is the fifth largest performing arts center in the U.S. with nearly 1,000 shows each year held in its five venues — the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Keller Auditorium, and three theaters inside Antoinette Hatfield Hall, including Winningstad Theater, Newmark Theater and Brunish Theater.
Metro serves more than 1.5 million people in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties. The agency's boundary encompasses Portland, Oregon and 23 other cities from the Columbia River in the north to the bend of the Willamette River near Wilsonville, and from the foothills of the Coast Range near Forest Grove to the banks of the Sandy River at Troutdale.
By Jules Rogers
Reporter, The Business Tribune
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