Educating Future Hospitality Workers
Lane Community College's Dr. Lisa Benson knows how the ups and downs in the economy affect her class sizes and what lower enrollment means to the programs that shape our next generation of culinary and hospitality workers. This month's Tourism Around Lane County (TALC) explores what's happening at LCC and how the industry can support current employees through continuing education. View "Hospitality Workers of the Future" and be sure to watch our interview with Dr. Benson.
Semi-Annual Report Available
Travel Lane County President/CEO Kari Westlund presented the FY20 semi-annual report to the Lane County Board of Commissioners on February 25. The update touches on accomplishments in each department and provides details on a number of key performance indicators tracked by the organization. View the report and view the presentation to learn more. The presentation begins at 2 hours and 5 minutes into the webcast.
2020 Travel Trends
A number of different groups develop and share their predictions for the hospitality industry. Miles Partnership and Phocuswright teamed up to produce, "The Year in Review and the Year Ahead." While the corona virus is changing the travel landscape around the globe, these insights can provide good opportunities for us all to learn the latest trends in travel and tourism.
The City of Eugene council is scheduled to take action in early summer on an ordinance regulating short term rentals. The Travel Lane County board discussed and adopted regulation recommendations during its February board meeting. Eight regulation categories were initially proposed by the city council, so the following information summarizes the Travel Lane County board position for each category:
- Yearly license fee – Should be included in the ordinance and license numbers should be included in STR listings.
- Require owner occupancy – Should be included. Manage by tax lot. People may rent rooms in their house or in an accessory dwelling unit on their property. Anyone wanting to use a non-owner occupied home as a short term rental should be required to go through a conditional use permit process. The CUP process recognizes that operating a business (renting an entire house for less than thirty days at a time for more than 90 total days a year) is a non-conforming use for areas zoned residential and is not allowed under current Eugene Code. The CUP process provides an appropriate pathway for owners to operate a business in a building zoned residential.
- Limit the number of days an entire house can be rented – Should be included. This allows someone to put their house on a STR platform for events such as the Olympic Trials and Oregon 21. The board felt that limited use of an entire house, not to exceed 90 days annually, still constitutes owner-occupancy.
- Include criteria for license revocation – Should be included. Develop criteria based on the number of substantiated complaints and unique number of complaints.
- Create a minimum separation required between rental properties – The council eliminated this in their deliberations and the board agrees it should not be included.
- Require inspections – The council eliminated this in their deliberations and the board agrees it should not be included. With the licensing requirement in place, the committee felt key aspects such as proper insurance would be reviewed.
- Require online platforms to assist in regulation compliance, data gathering and collection of TRT – Should be included. License numbers should be required for platform participation. TRT is already collected by the platforms, but data is needed to substantiate the payments being made. This requirement would ensure that STR owners collect key information such as the number of guests, length of stay and rates charged.
- Institute parking requirements – This would be covered through the CUP process and wasn’t felt to be an issue for owner-occupied units.
Expanded Trail System Round Two
The Bureau of Land Management released an updated environmental assessment (EA) for the Thurston Hills Forestry and Trails Project on February 5. The public comment period remains open through March 6, 2020, so don't delay in making comments. Travel Lane County supports the development of this trail system. When combined with Willamalane's Thurston Hills Natural Area the number of mountain bike trail miles will allow our region to bid on competitive mountain biking events. The expanded trail system is also a tremendous asset for local hikers and biking enthusiasts.
A two-year transportation pilot project makes it possible to leave your car in Eugene and head to Florence for the day. An inaugural run left the Amtrak Station in Eugene for the coast on February 18, 2020.
LinkLane operates two round trips per day and the intent is to add a mid-day trip in the near future. Funded through the State Transportation Improvement Fund (STIF), the Florence service pilot project is managed by Lane Council of Governments and operated through a contract with Pacific Crest Bus Lines.
A temporary webpage provides information on the schedule, route, stops and fares. The fare is $5 each way and only cash fares are currently accepted. Riders must use exact change as the bus operator cannot make change. The vehicle has a bike rack and is accessible for people using mobility devices.
Note that our region is also served by America’s Hub World Tours. Daily tours around Eugene-Springfield are offered and a coastal package provides a perfect opportunity for an early spring getaway.
Friends of Buford Park & Mt. Pisgah Donation Comes With BenefitsMount Pisgah in the Fog by Melanie Griffin
A favorite of hikers, trail runners and horseback riders is the Howard Buford Recreation Area and Mt. Pisgah. This nearby gem offers trails for all ages and abilities. The Friends of Buford Park & Mt. Pisgah is a, "self-funded non-profit of 1,000+ members and volunteers investing time, talent and money so people and nature can thrive together in the greater Mt. Pisgah area." And, for a donation as little as a $50, you become a member of Friends and you'll receive an annual Lane County Parks parking pass. A $40 value! Think about donating more and keeping this great outdoor asset in tip top shape.
Register for "Alert Me" Today
Did you know Lane County is able to send emergency alerts, to your home or business, via text message, email, pager, or voice call (in extreme cases)? These alerts are all based on the preferences you set up and it costs you nothing. It literally takes a few minutes to be prepared for all types of emergencies. Sign up today!
Travel Lane County is part of the Oregon Outdoor Recreation Network, a statewide initiative bringing together businesses, agencies, land managers, conservation groups and recreational user groups to invite Oregonians and visitors to "Take Care Out There". The "Take Care Out There" campaign asks that all outdoor recreation participants implement the prepare, care and connect principles to ensure our outdoor experiences are as safe as they are memorable.
With the goal of expanding access to outdoor recreation and increasing the economic impact and sustainability of Oregon’s outdoor recreation industry, Travel Lane County is excited to play a role in developing and implement the "Take Care Out There" campaign. We encourage all Oregonians to adopt the prepare, care and connect principles and we are here to help you do this quickly and easily. See our adventure checklist for adventure preparation tips.
Smith Travel Research reports on a calendar year basis, so the monthly and year to date figures will match in January. Florence data was unavailable, however Eugene and Springfield each posted double-digit gains in rooms sold and room revenue.
Data provided by Smith Travel Research
Transient room tax receipts increased nearly 58% for the month, but before anyone gets too excited it's worth noting that a late payment from December was received in January. This means that December figures were not down, as reported last month, and the mid-year increase was higher as well. The bottom-line is that room tax collections are strong and year to date the region is tracking over 8% ahead of last year. View the detailed report here>
Several great partners joined in February. Be sure to view their listings and reach out to welcome them.
Happening Around the Region
Thank you for being part of our industry!
- Kudos to Ginevra Ralph, John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts, on receiving the “Get in the Hearing Loop” award from the Hearing Loss Association of America.
- Congratulations Bettina Hannigan, Executive Director of the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce, for graduating from Academy – a professional development program.
- Oregon Heritage/State Historic Preservation Office launched a new website – www.oregonheritage.org
- The Oregon Aviation Historical Society commenced one year of honoring a century of Oregon’s earliest aviation pioneers and the State’s Department of Aviation.
- The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce #WorkReadyprogram was presented with the Outstanding Chamber Program Award by the Western Association of Chamber Executives (W.A.C.E.).
The Eugene, Cascades & Coast Sports Commission seeks to bring sports events to our region, strengthen our reputation as a sports destination, increase diversity, grow and enhance community access to local sports, and facilitate business and sports partnerships.
Travel Lane County's Convention Services works directly to secure venues, guest rooms and/or convention services for a wide variety of conventions taking place in the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region.