By Justin Aufdermauer
We haven’t talked in a while about the tourism work we do at the Chamber. A common misconception is that all tourism promotion entails is advertising here and there, and efforts to bring more people to our area, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. So much of what local tourism agencies like the Chamber do is manage tourism growth and provide services to create a better experience. Let me touch on a couple key services that are often overlooked.
If you haven’t been inside our visitor information center downtown you need to stop by! Yes, again, contrary to popular opinion, visitors still find a place to park and come visit us. But, we do a lot more than just keep our visitor information center stocked with brochures, maps and rack cards highlighting our area’s restaurants, lodging, and activities.
For example, we just finished putting together the 2019 Tillamook Coast Visitor Guide. This was our third year contracting with Visit Tillamook Coast to create and print this publication that is distributed not only all over Tillamook County, but all over the state. This publication is almost like a one-stop-shop for anything you might be looking for. Each year we pick several new places to highlight and feature. I personally love putting this publication together because you really start to see how much the county has expanded, diversified and blossomed since the Transient Lodging Tax was adopted. We have brand new restaurants featuring locally-caught and grown ingredients, new shopping experiences, restoration work happening of our historic buildings, and better awareness and marketing of the businesses that have been here all along.
In our continuing effort to help give our visitors a better experience, we are knee-deep into redesigning our website, gotillamook.com, to be more user friendly and give a more comprehensive, visual look at all the attractions based specifically around the City of Tillamook and outlying areas. While working with our web developer to create the specific “stops” along this virtual road-map, I’ve again been humbled by all the things to do in Tillamook – from farm tours, to clamming, crabbing, kayaking, touring the Quilt Trail, and everything in between. For those who say there is nothing to do around here, they haven’t stepped outside in a while. Sometimes we get caught up in focusing on our downtown and all the work that’s been put into its revitalization over the last few years, but there really are great things happening in every direction you look. I look forward to sharing this new website release with all of you soon, so stay tuned.
Then of course we have our downtown walking map. The goal of this map (which the Chamber prints and distributes semi-annually) is increased destination spending within downtown. The map highlights our membership businesses focused in the downtown area and is intended to entice further shopping. We will be reprinting those maps later this spring, and if you’d like to know how to get your business on there, call our office at 503-842-7525 or just stop by 208 Main Avenue.
Of course there are several others ways that the Chamber is influencing the tourism industry in our area – such as the upcoming June Dairy Parade on June 22, the Cork & Brew Tour which returns on June 14th, and the Tillamook Farmers Market, which opens for the season on June 15th. There is a lot of energy around farmers markets in the state and how they attract and draw people into a community. In fact, one study showed that more people look for a local farmers market when traveling than any other type of local event. With our newly-renovated downtown district and plenty of available parking, I think we’re going to see a huge uptick in visitors to the market this year.
And, before I forget, the Chamber and Visit Tillamook Coast are also providing locals and Tillamook County businesses with tide books, adjusted for our Tillamook Coast beaches. If you want a couple (or a handful) for yourself and friends or are a Tillamook County business that would like to hand them out to your customers (we offer the first 100 free) head over to our office at 208 Main Avenue.