Before the pandemic, 2019 direct visitor spending in Lane County totaled more than $783 million and supported over 11,000 jobs and nationally, travel generated $2.6 trillion in economic output. As a traded-sector industry, the hospitality industry brings hundreds of millions of dollars into our local economy from outside the region, the state and the country. These dollars support a wide variety of jobs, from entry level to managerial, and wages for many of these positions begin above minimum wage while providing opportunities to advance within our local businesses.
As Lane County hospitality businesses look forward to a more robust summer travel season, something is missing – employees.
Lane County restaurants are closing or reducing hours, not due to a lack of customers, but due to a lack of staffing. Area hotels are blocking rooms from being sold to customers because they lack the staffing needed to clean these rooms for incoming guests.
As Lane County employers vie for available employees, it is not uncommon to see hiring incentives and increased starting wages. A recent example was seen as the Obie Companies raised their minimum wage to $15 per hour.
Our hospitality businesses offer good jobs (with rising wages) that provide opportunities for youth and other job seekers to gain valuable job skills and explore careers in a worldwide industry.
To connect area residents to these jobs, Travel Lane County is working with local workforce partners to evaluate hosting a hospitality industry hiring fair. In the meantime, we have developed a webpage that provides listings for area hosptiality businesses that are looking for employees – www.EugeneCascadesCoast.org/tourism-jobs/. We will continue to update this page as we hear of additional opportunities.
To learn more about National Travel & Tourism Week and how the tourism industry supports the regional, state and national economy, read our Industry News blog.