A look back and into the future of Seaside tourism

JON RAHL

When my wife asked me what I was going to write about this month, she almost answered the question as fast as it came out of her mouth. “A look back, and a look ahead,” she said. She was right!

The first column of the year has become a tradition for me in this space, being that it will be my fourth “look back and look ahead.”

The new year always gives pause to reflect on the past and look forward to the future, so without further ado, let’s do just that with Seaside tourism. Happy New Year, Seaside!

Seaside Naturally: Early in 2014, Seaside Visitors Bureau took over the phenomenal asset that former Seaside Chamber of Commerce Director Al Smiles helped to create in 2009.

The move aligned with the outdoor adventure we were already promoting, and current chamber Executive Susan Huntington agreed with the move. What that means for the community and Seaside visitors is a refreshed website and an enhanced Facebook presence focused entirely on Seaside’s great outdoors. Learn more at SeasideNaturally.com.

Quarterly industry newsletter creation: The staff at the visitors bureau is committed to creating awareness about Seaside while constantly striving to stay on top of travel trends and information that will help us do our job more effectively.

With that in mind, we created an industry newsletter for hospitality businesses to gain from those same insights. The quarterly news looks at lodging tax information, gives tips on staffing and often includes great factoids perfect for interacting with visitors.

We’ve also included an at-a-glance calendar of upcoming Seaside events and training opportunities for hospitality workers. Learn more at bit.ly/SSIndustry.

Video production for Oregon’s North Coast: After two plus years of working to collectively promote Oregon’s North Coast, the cooperative effort between the Astoria/Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce, Seaside Visitors Bureau and Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce created incredible video assets in 2014.

A three-day video shoot involved 60 locations across Clatsop County, which yielded three inspiring new videos. Those videos were condensed this past fall and are being used to advertise our area to Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. Check them out at bit.ly/ONC-Play.

Oregon Tourism Commission meeting: Travel Oregon leads the state’s tourism and marketing initiatives with an annual budget of close to $14 million. It does amazing things every day to help draw national and international awareness to the great state we get to call home.

You can learn a little bit more about these efforts when the commission holds its first quarter meeting in Seaside at 9 a.m. Feb. 10 in the Seaside Civic & Convention Center. Learn more about Travel Oregon at industry.traveloregon.com.

Growth in tourism infrastructure: The convention center is not the only thing that could be changing in Seaside. Local leaders are working on the development of a natural history park, which will expand and create greater awareness about Seaside’s green space, and many hotels are considering or already updating their properties. These are just a few things that will help Seaside prepare for future visitors.

Jon Rahl is the director of the Seaside Visitors Bureau and assistant general manager of the Seaside Civic & Convention Center. Have a thought or question about tourism in Seaside, or maybe an idea for a future column? Drop him an email at jon@seasideor.com

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