Councilors wanted more information before voting on establishing a tourism program of their own

The Newberg City Council tabled a decision Dec. 17 on creating a tourism program called Visit Newberg, instead pushing the decision to its Jan. 22 meeting.

Community Development Coordinator Doug Rux said councilors wanted further clarification on several items, such as timing for funds to be released and how funding would be distributed.

Councilors voted to approve a separate resolution this summer indicating their desire to create the tourism, marketing and promotion organization.

The idea for Visit Newberg goes back to the fall of 2016, when the council held a series of meetings about tourism and using the Transient Lodging Tax revenues the city has received since it was established in 1976. The city established an ad hoc committee in the winter of 2016. The committee has held several meetings since January 2017, as well as developed a small grant program and destination development marketing program where they recommended 12 grants to the council for a total of $340,000.

The TLT Ad Hoc Committee then established a marketing subcommittee to discuss and develop a marketing program, and these discussions included the Chehalem Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Last spring, the ad hoc committee held a joint session with the council about destination marketing and a support system to conduct that marketing. The committee evaluated several ideas, such as modifying the Chamber and city's visitor center contract to enhance destination marketing services; establishing a separate entity; retain the committee and enhance destination marketing activities.

The committee ultimately chose to have an organization provide enhanced destination marketing after hearing a presentation from Visit McMinnville and developed a concept for a Visit Newberg plan. According to the resolution before the council last week, the organization will become a nonprofit in February, and the council will use future tourism related funds to establish it.

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