For industry partners

Image of AVA logo and text for Newsletter

Welcome to our industry page built specifically for our tourism industry partners. We encourage you to check back periodically and see announcements of interest to our local hoteliers, restaurant owners, and business operators. Feel free to contact us if you have information to share that would benefit our hospitality and tourism industry.

Industry news and current affairs

Look in this section for upcoming projects, news, or other call to action announcements. You can also subscribe to these and other important industry announcements about grants, conferences, scholarships, etc. by filling out our e-news form below this section.

January 2021 – Payroll Protection Program (PPP) funding information. Keeping your business information up to date, Unites States & Worldwide stats on Coronovirus spread.  

Effective January 15 through January 28, Linn and Benton Counties will remain in the Extreme Risk Level. We are among 26 counties in the Extreme Risk level, two are at High Risk, two at Moderate Risk, and six at Lower Risk. A complete list of counties and their associated risk levels is available here.  Look here at the OHA Dashboard for a larger picture of what’s going on. This page is also available through a link from our travel alert banner on the AlbanyVisitors.com website for quick access.

We continue to update our AVA website with new information on the restaurant, business and lodging spreadsheets (linked from the banner) as soon as we are able to find it. We frequently call or scour social media for updates from the businesses and also maintain links directly to their most active online account so customers are able to reach them directly. If you have updates please let us know and we are happy to share them.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will be open to small lenders this Friday, January 15, and all lenders on Tuesday, January 19. Community financial institutions are already accepting applications. Eligible lenders with $1 billion or less in assets may begin accepting both first and second draw PPP applications beginning January 15. All remaining eligible lenders will be able to begin accepting applications for both types of loans beginning January 19. Hoteliers interested in obtaining a first or second-draw loan are encouraged to begin working with their lenders and filling out their applications (loan details and applications available here).

SBA’s announcement on the finalized rollout schedule is available hereSBA’s website is the clearinghouse for all things PPP, including a link to match you up with a qualified PP Lender: SBA Lender Match.

There are many webinars going on to help people navigate the PPP. Specific to the travel industry, I attended one put on by US Travel last week that was helpful. If you would like to see the recording it is available here, outlining details of the PPP and other programs included in the relief bill. More information on eligibility considerations and what is covered can be found on US Travel’s FAQ guide or US Travel’s COVID Relief Resources page.

Of Interest: Here’s an interesting read and report from National Geographic tracking the virus and recognizing that Oregon is doing a pretty good job overall at keeping the numbers down and slowing the spread. Good job Oregonians! Tracking coronavirus infections in the US.  Tracking coronavirus infections across the World.

December 2020  – New Grant Funds Available – quick deadlines, New COVID website, Free Covid-19 testing, Industry updates, & Holiday happenings.

Grant Opportunities For Linn County Businesses:

You may be eligible for a Linn County COVID-19 Emergency Grant. The application with detailed information is here. The funding is part of $55 million in federal CARES Act money provided to Oregon for the purpose of providing financial assistance to small businesses affected by economic conditions as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Applicants may email their fully completed application to jsteele@albanychamber.com, mail it to the AACC, PO Box 548, Albany OR 97321, or hand-deliver it to the Linn County Commissioners office in the Linn County Courthouse. Unfortunately, hotels are not eligible for this funding source as they were not required to close. County commissioners are talking with state reps to seek some additional help. The deadline for applications is Thursday, December 10, 2020. 

Grant Opportunities For Benton County Businesses (this Includes North Albany):

COVID-19 Small Business Grant (Total Benton County Allocation: $1,250,490) $7,500 – $25,000 grants available based on FTE. Applications open 12/4 – 12/13 at midnight. Funds will be awarded via a 2-phase lottery until funds are depleted. Information can be found here and a link to the application here.

This funding is also part of $55 million in federal CARES Act money provided to Oregon for the purpose of providing financial assistance to small businesses affected by economic conditions as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The deadline for applications is Sunday, December 13, 2020. 

Grant Opportunities For Arts and Education – Miller Foundation has grant opportunities

Fast Track Arts Grants
Our Fast Track Arts Grants offer a single year of general operating support for arts organizations with annual budgets under $500,000, with a maximum award of $25,000. Fast Track Arts grants are being offered in two rounds. The first round (through mid-January) prioritizes 1) organizations outside the Portland Metro area; 2) organizations that have not received past funding from Miller; and, 3) organizations that serve communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. The second round (mid-January through June) is open to arts organizations serving all communities in all Oregon counties.

Letter of Inquiry – arts and education
Our Letter of Inquiry (LOI) form is for arts organizations with annual budgets over $500,000, or for organizations of any budget size seeking multi-year grants or annual amounts over $25,000. Education organizations with budgets of any size should apply through our LOI process for education funding, which prioritizes efforts that address immediate and pressing needs for K-12 students, teachers and their families during this challenging time.

Their website provides eligibility details and answers to frequently asked questions, Jennifer Allen Program Officer, Learning & Community Engagement Director is happy to talk with anyone who would like more information. 971-940-1137

Linn County Cultural Coalition (LCCC) annual grants will be accepting applications soon- more to come. In the meantime, please take 10 minutes (or less) to fill out their survey. This will help determine the use of future grant funds. ‘The Coalition encourages all Linn County residents to take the survey, whether or not they are involved in arts, heritage, or humanities organizations. We want to know what local cultural assets people value the most, and what they feel is missing in Linn County culture,” Click here to take the survey.

Free COVID-19 Testing is available

Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is offering free COVID-19 testing at the Linn County Expo Center Mondays and Fridays during the month of December.  Appointments are required (see attached fliers).  You never know who might need this information. Please share freely with your friends and co-workers.

Oregon has an updated statewide coronavirus website

It is easier to learn about the state framework now in effect. The website is the new go-to place for anyone who wants to learn about COVID-19 in Oregon. Among the highlights are a map with each county risk level, state guidelines, resources, testing information and more.

Explore the updated website at coronavirus.oregon.gov. We also have a link to it from our AVA COVID-19 Resource page.

The run down: Every Monday COVID data is pulled on the previous two-weeks. The first Monday in the two-week period the data will be reviewed, and county leadership will be alerted of progress (positive or negative). The following Monday, a new data pull will include the most recent week and decisions will be made about where counties fall on the risk assessment matrix.

I click straight to the dashboard to see our counties’ information

Industry Meetings

Notes from the Oregon Business Plan – Tourism Industry Cluster Session webinar and U S Travel forecast. We are aware the hospitality industry was the first to be hit and will be the last to recover. Travel stopped, travel is still impacted, and the way people travel has changed. The sentiment studies show that many people will not fully embrace travel until well into 2021, the occupancy and revenues are not expected to come back to 2019 numbers until 2024. Webinar recording: Looking Ahead to 2021 Forecast

Traveler Sentiment: Source: Destination Analysts

Nearly one-in-five Americans say they plan to take a winter holiday trip

  • Anxieties about personally or loved ones’ contracting the virus and the pandemic’s impact on the economy are in an elevated but stable period that have not reached the peak levels seen during the two prior surges in March and July
  • Over 60% of Americans believe the pandemic is going to get worse in the next month
  • Fully half of American travelers say they have lost their interest in traveling for the time being, and 62% say if they were to travel right now, they wouldn’t be able to fully enjoy it

Businesses now need to be excellent communicators in addition to running their businesses, they need to keep up with their google my business and social media accounts. They need to let their customers know how to buy, when they are open, if they offer curbside, and all this changes so quickly that the businesses themselves are the best source of reliable information. They are also experts on cleanliness now, with cleaning routines established to exceed expectations so customers feel safe, and they’ve invested a lot in accommodating customers while adhering to guidelines. They are working twice as hard for half the money. Businesses need more help to hold on through the winter. December is the biggest month for retail and is also very important to restaurants hosting holiday parties, celebrations and special nights out. These aren’t happening and two-week intervals are hard to manage. The recording from the cluster session will be available soon.

Albany Lodging meeting update

We held a meeting last week to check in with our lodging partners, discuss current trends, challenges, what helps and possible opportunities. Added regulations have spurred additional cancellations and few reservations are being made outside a two-day window. Those that do come are coming last minute making it difficult to plan ahead or prepare for the future. Regular updates, continuing to communicate, training opportunities and of course funding sources have been helpful to let us all know we are not alone. Challenges with inappropriate behavior with the houseless population have continued so we reached out to our friends at APD to request occasional drive thru-s the hotel parking lots to show a presence and hopefully deter potential problems. We recognize the APD is spread thin, but they will try to help out wave hello if you see them. We will schedule another Lodging meeting in January.

Mid-Willamette Valley Food Trail gift box is now available on Built Oregon.

Need PPE? 2 Towns Ciderhouse Provides PPE free for any businesses in the Mid-Willamette area. See attached media release for details.

Yes we can still do fun things! there are still fun activities to enjoy during the December 2020 holidays. Follow AVA on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, visit our Google Calendar and See our Top Ten Picks for a Safe and Festive Holiday.

November 2020  – New Grant Funds Available -Opens November 19

If you or a business you know could use financial assistance please see this latest grant opportunity for up to $200,000 and encourage others who could use some help to do the same. The application opens tomorrow (November 19). The application form and additional details will be found on Business Oregon’s website in multiple languages. Grants will be reviewed on a first-come first-served basis, and will be allocated so that there is an equitable geographic distribution of funds as dictated by the Oregon Legislature. This round will consider applications from businesses who have already received funds. It is worth checking into.

https://www.oregon4biz.com/Coronavirus-Information/ESBA/. This page will be updated this Thursday, November 19 with additional program information and eligibility requirements, as well as an application form.

November 2020  – Update on Statewide Two-Week Freeze effective from November 18 to December 2

It’s been a whirlwind of a week and today Governor Kate Brown announced a statewide two-week freeze to stop rapid spread of COVID-19. Beginning November 18. Unfortunately the COVID-19 cases across the country, in Oregon and in our Linn and Benton Counties have increased drastically and these numbers are becoming a real threat to the ability of our emergency health care system to respond to the needs of our people.

For the AVA that means staff and volunteers will be working from home for the next two weeks. You can still reach us via e-mail or phone. We are also working on ways to keep the holidays festive, up-lifting and safe – with events like the annual Holiday Light Contest, Historic Home Christmas (parlour) Porch Tour, and supporting Christmas storybook land and others providing safe holiday activities.  Remember the AVA is your source for events happening in the Albany area, virtual or in person (adhering to COVID-19 guidelines). There are many local holiday activities to enjoy so be sure to check the Albany Event Calendar. If you have events you would like included on the calendar, please contact Amy at: info@albanyvisitors.com.

What does this mean for our industry? There is a lot to take in and it’s going to be a rough two weeks that could continue into the winter. We are here to help wherever we can.

While we could anticipate this coming with the rapid increase in cases, we now, more than ever, need to shift our focus on how to minimize the impacts on our local businesses and the jobs our community relies on. We will continue to encourage buying local, keeping our business pages up to date with take out and delivery options, working with our regional and state partners to learn how we can best help each other.

Oregon Travel Advisory 11/13/2020 –  Full details can be found here.

The incidence of COVID-19 is increasing in many states and countries. Persons arriving in Oregon from other states or Oregonians returning from other states or countries could increase the risk of COVID-19 spread. In addition, travel itself can be a risk for exposure to COVID-19, particularly travel through shared conveyance such as air, bus or rail travel.

Travel Advisory for Non-Essential Travel

  1. Persons arriving in Oregon from other states or countries, including returning Oregon residents, should practice self-quarantinefor 14 days after arrival. These persons should limit their interactions to their immediate household. This recommendation does not apply to individuals who cross state or country borders for essential travel.Non-essential travelincludes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature.Essential travel includes: work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care, and safety and security.

    2. Oregonians are encouraged to stay home or in their region and avoid non-essential travel to other states or countries. Avoiding travel can reduce the risk of virus transmission and bringing the virus back to Oregon.

Freeze begins statewide starting Wed. Nov 18 – Wed Dec 2.

  • Essential Travel only
  • Restaurants required to switch to takeout only
  • retail spaces (groceries stores and otherwise) capacity reduced to 75%
  • Curbside pick-up is STRONGLY encouraged
  • Closures of gyms/fitness centers and indoor/outdoor meeting and event spaces (indoor/outdoor)
  • Faith-based gatherings limited to 25 gathering limit indoors and 50 people outdoors
  • Employers required to have staff work from home as much as possible

This is similar to our Stay at Home order in March, with some minor adjustments:

  • Personal services and non-essential medical is allowed to remain open
  • Outdoor recreation activities are still strongly encourage and city parks and playgrounds will remain open
  • schools meeting current guidelines are able to remain open
  • Masks are strongly encouraged at all times in public, indoors and outdoors.

Thanksgiving Holiday– it is strongly encouraged not to gather with more than one other household, limited to 6 people maximum. If indoors, continue to physically distance and wear masks and only not be masked together while eating. If possible (weather permitting) be outside.

 While not mentioned specifically during the briefing, the Governor’s staff confirmed this includes winery tasting rooms. Tasting rooms can remain open for sales (inside and curbside). However, no on-site (indoor or outdoor) tasting or food service will be allowed.

Governor Brown will reassess in two weeks, after which some counties may need to continue the Stay at Home order. The OWA and the OWC have been working to try to separate tasting rooms from restaurants and bars in any shutdown orders and sent this letter to the Governor.

October 2020  – Grants, PPE, Marketing Series, Survey, Thank you!

ADDITIONAL GRANT FUNDS, yes another grant opportunity -this one is different. It’s worth your time to check. Community LendingWorks now has even more Business Oregon funds available to deploy to small businesses. Eligibility is expanded, so even if businesses were ineligible before, They may be eligible now. Businesses that already received money may be eligible for additional funds too. Applications are currently being accepted and funds will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Reach out to Community LendingWorks, emergencygrant@communitylendingworks.org, with any questions. Apply Here

Do you need PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)? The Governor’s office in partnership with the Oregon Legislature’s Emergency Board, allocated $10 Million from the federal CARES Act funding for the purchase of supplies including masks and gloves for small business. The State of Oregon is fulfilling orders at no charge until resources are depleted. Order here.

Travel Oregon’s Small Business Marketing Series (free): Inspire Confidence with Online Listings During COVID-19 is coming up on Thursday, October 22 from noon-1 p.m. Traveler sentiment research shows that right now consumers want to know which destinations and businesses are open and following guidelines for health and safety. Thankfully, a variety of zero-cost digital tools will help you surface this key information to consumers online. Register Here.

TOURISM STAKEHOLDER SURVEY

You are invited to take Travel Oregon’s Stakeholder Survey 2020 stakeholder survey. Travel Oregon and the state’s seven official regional destination management organizations will use your answers to inform work on a 2021-25 strategic plan for Oregon’s tourism economy. We want to make sure the opinions of all tourism-related businesses around the state are captured in this year’s survey. The survey will take approximately 15 minutes to complete and will close on October 30, at 5 p.m. Questions? contact industry@traveloregon.com.

THANK YOU! The staff and volunteers at AVA have been making regular calls to our hotel partners in Linn County and updating the statewide lodging availability lists supplied to the Office of Emergency Management to assist with the needs related to Oregon’s wildfires. Starting with every other day, then twice per week, and then once per week. As the fires in Oregon have mostly been contained, causing fewer evacuations and damage, and FEMA’s housing strategy transitions to longer-term solutions for fire survivors, they are now focusing the lodging availability project on the next 6 weeks and transitioning the reporting cycle to every other week. We recognize this has been a cooperative effort to provide the most up to date information and we are very appreciative of all our hoteliers who have helped to provide this information and shelter to those in need. We are grateful.

September 2020  –  Comfort Suites Albany in Highpoints for the WV Responsible Reopening program

See page 2 here for more: https://pointsforprofit.org/september-2020/. It’s not too late to sign up for the WV Responsible Reopening program to be included in local, regional and statewide efforts to encourage safe travel to Albany.

September 2020 – Calling all Willamette Valley Lodging Partners.

Our Willamette Valley lodging community has come together to support our communities in need. We thank you for your support, and the call to help is not over. As the federal disaster declaration has been signed, the region will see an influx of federal workers in our state, who in addition to the displaced will also need housing. Oregon Office of Emergency Management and FEMA are encouraging hotels and lodging operators to sign up for the Emergency Lodging Assistance Program.

FEMA Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) Program
FEMA determines all Emergency Lodging Assistance (ELA) program activations. Upon notice from FEMA, Corporate Lodging Consultants (CLC) communicates ELA Program activation information to hotels through a variety of delivery methods (fax, mail, internet alerts.) CLC encourages prospective hotels to visit the ELA Program website (ela.corplodging.com) to create an account and encourages lodging partners to stay informed on activation alerts, comprehensive program news and updates.
Hotel Support Line: 1-866-545-9865
E-Mail: femahousing@clclodging.com
ELA Program website for hotels to register: https://ela.corplodging.com

September 2020 -Grants are now available for Albany’s small businesses

adversely affected by  the COVID-19 pandemic. From their website: “Estimated time to complete this form: 5 minutes.”  For-profit and non-profit (limited to 501(c)(3) corporations) businesses with 25 or fewer employees may be eligible for grants between $2,500- $25,000. Preference will be given to sole proprietors and historically disadvantaged businesses owners including women.Businesses that received federal PPP or EIDL are NOT disqualified but will be limited in how much they can receive. If you wonder if you qualify, apply. Grant funds may be used for most business-related operating expenses. These funds are administered through Community Lending Works. For any questions, please contact emergencygrant@communitylendingworks.org.

August 2020 – Cultural Grant Application now Live! Deadline is August 24 at 12pm

The Cultural Grant opportunity for Linn and Benton Counties is live and available at this link: https://development.oregon4biz.com/acton/media/14786/2020-crf-cultural-support

Please move quickly on this with such a short 12-day window for applications. Deadline is August 24 at 12pm.

All Oregon cultural nonprofits and community venues are welcome to apply. Eligible grant recipients include, but are not limited to, cultural institutions, county fairgrounds, cultural entities within federally recognized Indian Tribes based in Oregon, and festivals and community event organizations. Funds will be distributed through the Cultural Trust statewide network of County and Tribal Cultural Coalitions. Funding will be determined based on eligible request amounts, an award allocation formula that establishes a base amount of funds per county or tribe and the organization’s fiscal size. COVID-19 expenses previously reimbursed by other federal CARES Act programs are not eligible. Complete guidelines are posted on the Cultural Trust website here.

Our Linn and Benton counties’ direct resource for assistance with this grant process is Liora Sponko. You can reach her directly via email: Liora.Sponko@oregon.gov  or phone: (971) 345-1641.

August 2020 – Small Business Grant Available in Linn and Benton Counties – deadline August 14

If you have not received PPP or EIDL funds through CARES Act, you may be eligible for a grant through the BUSINESS OREGON COVID-19 Small Business Assistance Grant.

Central Willamette has secured funding for small businesses in Benton, Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, Lane, Linn and Marion counties. To fill gaps not reached by other programs, these state funds are directed to adversely affected businesses with 25 or fewer employees, and only those that have been unable to receive federal CARES Act funding, including the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance program, or other federal programs for emergency pandemic funding to date. Businesses may use the proceeds for any business-related operating expenses.

Review the criteria for your businesses eligibility here and send them an email to secure an application for your small business. To review the application you can find it online here. Grants will be awarded on a first-come-first served basis with a focus on sole proprietorships. All applications are due to Central Willamette by no later than Friday, August 14, 2020, so time is of the essence.

July 2020 – Need help to gently remind customers to wear a mask?

One thing that hasn’t changed: it’s still up to our customers whether or not we stay open. It’s up to all of us to wear a mask. Travel Oregon and the Governor’s office have provided a toolkit of social message tiles and images. These are free and available for you to use: https://govstatus.egov.com/or-covid-19-social-media-toolkits  If you would like specific ones printed and don’t have the capability, we will print them for you, just let us know which ones you would like.

Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association (ORLA) provides some great information: For frequently asked questions about mask requirements and information about the Statewide Mask, Face Shield, Face Covering Guidance click here  and information on Mask-Wearing and the ADA.

You can help your front line employees with a positive and proactive approach by

  • sharing with your customers in advance, what they should expect when coming to your business.
  • having steps in place for those who do not comply with wearing a facemask. This is highly recommended by ORLA. This includes asking the right questions: Do you have an exemption or a disability preventing you from wearing a mask? (A medical condition is not a reason not to wear a mask. They must have an exemption or a disability). If they say yes and do not want to wear a mask, simply offer the reasonable accommodation you have already planned for.
  • A reasonable restaurant accommodation would be taking their order outside and allowing them to wait outside to take their meal to go. For a hotel, this might be checking them in outside and offering an alternative route to their room so they are not coming within 6ft of other guests and employees who are wearing their masks.
  • If you come up with your steps ahead of time, your employees will be better equipped to keep interactions positive while providing the hospitality we are known for.

Remember your employees are one of your greatest assets – you need them to be healthy. Should an employee report being sick with Covid-19. Here is a link for information:  GUIDANCE FOR RESTAURANTS RESPONDING TO COVID-19 POSITIVE EMPLOYEE.  As always, ORLA’s Website is a great resource too.

July 2020 – The City of Albany SEAT program is an easy step out onto the sidewalk.

Are you street (or sidewalk) legal?  For those who would like to extend their business beyond their own building, and use the public right of way on the sidewalk for outdoor seating or retail space (outside of a permitted event) a permit is required. Restaurants and retailers, are eligible for a free permit with a simple application form. The City of Albany has made it very easy for you to get this covered through the SEAT program. The main requirement is to maintain an ADA-compliant path on the public sidewalk. Keep in mind, additional state mandated guidelines must also be met requiring face masks (even outdoors) when 6ft distance cannot be maintained.

Please use the SEAT application provided by our City of Albany specifically for you and return it for approval to Matthew Ruettgers (link here: https://www.cityofalbany.net/images/stories/cd/devcenter/forms/seat.pdf)

June 2020 – Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Safety Check List 

ORLA’s Commitment to safety lodging checklist and Commitment to safety restaurant checklist should prove helpful to restaurant and lodging partners during the initial phases of COVID-19 re-opening procedures. View the lists ans download them at https://www.oregonrla.org/checklist.html. When a restaurant or lodging operator completes the checklist they can submit it to ORLA and receive collateral to showcase their commitment to safety precautions for their customers. While the checklists may be used by any industry partner to help guide re-opening precautions, collateral is reserved for active ORLA members.

May 2020 – Oregon Community Foundation Recovery Grant Program

The Oregon Communities Foundation has $1 million in grant funding to support communities. Oregon Community Recovery Grant Program: Funding for nonprofit organizations in Oregon that are particularly affected by the outbreak of COVID-19 and which provide services related to basic needs, jobs and economy, childcare, social and emotional needs, and school closures. And Oregon Arts and Culture Recovery Program: Providing flexible resources from a cohort of participating funders to support the arts and culture community who have been adversely impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19.  Please visit their website to review application questions and FAQs for both programs. 

April 2020 – Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association Virtual Town Hall

Restaurant and lodging operators in Benton and Linn Counties are invited to a virtual town hall on Friday, April 24 from 9:30-10:30 a.m. hosted by The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA). The purpose of this meeting is to provide you with a summary of the latest industry intelligence from the Governor’s Office as well as from state and local leaders on two fronts – ongoing relief programs available to the hospitality industry and brainstorming strategies about what it looks like to start opening up Oregon’s economy again. If you are interested in an overview of relief programs and participating in a discussion about what reopening your business looks like, this virtual meeting is for you. Please RSVP by sending an email to Greg Staneruck and include any questions or comments you would like considered as part of the conversation. Questions? Telephone 503-858-0086. Join the town hall via Zoom Join online or by phone on Friday, April 24, 2020 | 9:30-10:30 am, Join via Zoom Meeting

April 2020 – Mid-Willamette Valley Food Trail updates

Two female children holding garlic picked at Mid-way Farms in Albany, OregonThe Mid-Willamette Valley Food Trail is featured in Travel Oregon’s culinary e-news, Oregon Food Trails From Home. Would you like to share with your customers where you they can buy their favorite Oregon Food Trails products right now?  “There’s no need to let quarantine keep you from enjoying Oregon’s bounty!” Many of the featured  tastemakers are offering to-go service and have products in grocery stores and markets across the state. Oregon Food Trails showcase the freshest local offerings of farmers, fishers, brewers and chefs. Each trail features the signature flavors of the region — from wine and beer to fresh fruit and produce and more. Take a look at how to get a taste of Oregon Food Trails near you or delivered to your doorstep.

April 2020 – City of Albany Emergency Response Business Survey

Albany business owners are encouraged to participate. The information provided by you will help to inform the city’s collective response as they do their best to support the business community to cope with and move through the COVID-19 crisis. If you are a business owner, please take a few minutes to let us know how we can help. Please share this survey with your clients, partners or members. Take the survey.

April 2020 – Survey on COVID-19 impact to small businesses

Business Oregon, Travel Oregon, and Small Business Development Centers have partnered to develop a survey to understand how COVID-19 is impacting businesses across the state. Information gathered by this survey will be vital to policymakers who are working to provide assistance to businesses during this crisis. Individual responses to this survey are completely confidential and will not be shared publicly, only aggregate information will be shared. The survey closes on April 15th.  Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey.

March 2020 – Apply for Federal CARES Act relief

The Federal CARES aid package was approved and signed on Friday, March 27, 2020. To learn more about COVID-19 relief grant and loan opportunities available for small businesses, visit the SBA.

It might be helpful to view the following video (created by James Acres) showing the application step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

March 9, 2020 – Coronavirus Toolkit – Travel Oregon

Photo of a healthcare professional in a white lab coat holding a red stethoscope Travel Oregon is working closely with state and national partners to continually monitor the ever-evolving situation associated with the COVID-19 outbreak. We have gathered resources that will be helpful for you to monitor the situation and learn how your business or community might be affected.

In an effort to support our partners in a time when up-to-date information is crucial, Travel Oregon has created a toolkit that points to resources from national and state public health organizations to give you the information you need around COVID-19. As you receive questions and/or concerns from industry partners and tourism-related businesses, please direct them to the toolkit.

Our intention is to provide information that will help mitigate the negative impacts of COVID-19, including both the fear of contracting the virus, as well as its spread.

It’s important to reiterate that Oregon is open for business while empowering potential visitors to make informed travel decisions. With that in mind, refer them to the following resources:

Travel Oregon will link to resources on the Travel Alerts page on traveloregon.com. We recommend using a similar format on your website and communications channels. We will continue to update the toolkit with information as the situation evolves. Check back as questions or concerns arise, or reach out to us at industry@traveloregon.com.

March 5, 2020 – Opportunity to Place Banners/Signs in Softball Fields – Albany Parks & Rec

Albany Parks & Recreation is looking for businesses that might be interested in doing sponsor signs for the 2020 softball season. The season also includes the USA Men’s Softball National Championship Tournament in September. This will be great added exposure for local businesses. View the pricing information (PDF) and contact Nicole Markel at 541-917-7774 if interested. Games get underway in April.

March 4, 2020 – “Nation of Makers Conference” – Registration open for Eugene workshop

The greater Eugene area will host the Nation of Makers’ third annual conference, NOMCON 2020, June 5-7 at the Mary Spilde Downtown CenterThe Nation of Makers brings together leaders of organizations dedicated to supporting the maker movement through supporting the maker community. The maker movement began with the resurgence of DIY and continues to grow as makers, creatives, and entrepreneurs join forces to create products, solutions, and services to serve and build their local communities and impact the larger ecosystem. NOMCON 2020 is an opportunity to showcase Oregon’s maker ingenuity and enterprise locally and nationally.

Maker Fest including UpCycle Maker Hall, a pre-event for Nation of Makers national conference, celebrates the maker legacy in Oregon. This is a rare opportunity for Oregon legacy companies, maker spaces, and makers to come together during a public event and share their stories with community and national audiences in engaging ways. These stories reflect regional diversity, inspire community pride, and showcase our deep roots as makers and doers. Click here for more information and to register.

February 25, 2020 – City of Albany Waterfront Project 

The City of Albany is taking the next steps in this long-standing effort to improve Albany’s waterfront and how it connects to downtown. The expectation is that new waterfront redevelopment will ultimately create one of the most unique downtowns in the state of Oregon. When complete, the riverfront will be a major downtown anchor, linking the community to the rivers to which it was historically connected.

Attend an Open House on March 5th, at the Albany Senior Center, from 4 – 6 p.m. and learn more about this economic vitality project. The open house is not a formal presentation but rather a drop-in to learn more and give your input.

Sign up for project email updates and stay in the know.

February 11, 2020 – Grants list for Oregon Industry partners

A variety of Oregon industry and business grants are open for application and this Travel Oregon document includes the specifics, including links and deadlines. Grants range from rural businesses and agricultural to community non-profit opportunities.

February 10, 2020 – Linn County Expo Center Marketing Video

Our friends at KEZI and the Linn County Expo Center (LCEC) created a video about the stunning facilities available to industry partners. Are you an event or conference planner looking to site a large-scale gathering in Oregon? The LCEC is located in the beautiful Willamette Valley and is sited near to brand hotels and restaurants. 

January 30, 2020 – Oregon Wine Country License Plates

Travel Oregon is now accepting applications for Oregon Wine Country License Plates Matching Grants funding. The program awards grants to eligible applicants for projects that promote wine and culinary tourism. Recent awarded projects have included: event promotion, digital marketing upgrades, winery visitor research and food trail maps/passports.

Applicants may apply for grants up to $50,000 for projects that promote wine and/or culinary tourism. Applicants must demonstrate a one-to-one match with at least 50% of matching funds being cash. Download the Wine Country Plates Matching Grants Guidelines for specific eligibility requirements and to view the application questions.

Important dates

  • May 26, 2021 – Project must be complete and final reporting documentation submitted

Travel Oregon administers the Oregon Wine Country License Plates Matching Grants Program, which is funded through sales of the Wine Country license plate. Learn more and complete the online application at: Industry.TravelOregon.com/WCPGrants.

Tourism Industry Quarterly Newsletter

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Advertising successes

Albany Visitors Association and its tourism marketing partners published a seven page insert inside 1859 Magazine’s 2019 Holiday Foodie issue that featured Albany restaurants, lodging, historic districts, the carousel, and Linn County points of interest. 1859 is widely circulated and is a prime travel and tourism glossy publication with a dedicated following.

Albany businesses featured included:

  • Lodging: 206 1/2 Historic Hotel, Phoenix Inn Suites, Comfort Suites, Quality Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Best Western Plus Prairie Inn
  • Historic: Monteith House Museum, Historic Carousel & Museum, Historic Districts, Albany Regional Museum, Whitespires Church, Christmas Parlour Tour
  • Food and Libations: Brick & Mortar Cafe, Frankie’s, Sybaris Bistro, Sweet Red Bistro, Deluxe Brewing, Vault 244 Bistro, Calapooia Brewing Co., Springhill Cellars Winery, The Barn at Hickory Station, Margin Coffee
  • Shops and Other Businesses: Oak Creek Collection Marketplace, Eclectic Zebra, Sniffany’s Pet Boutique, Emma Downtown and Emma Sales Closet, The Natty Dresser, Albany Antique Mall, Cronies Vintage & Antique Emporium, Pix Theatre, Albany Civic Theater, Gallery Calapooia, Splatter Box, Restyle Upscale Resale
  • Linn County Attractions: Thompson’s Mills State Heritage Site, Talking waters Garden
View the insert and issue

The insert is on page 111 through 118 of the virtual magazine. For print publication, the insert was featured in the front-middle portion of the magazine.

 

October 2019 – Linn Benton Food Trail Agritourism Project

Baskets of food at market.Albany Visitors Association (AVA) and Visit Corvallis, in partnership with Travel Oregon, are seeking Linn County and Benton County agritourism and culinary businesses to participate in the creation of the “Mid-Willamette Valley Food Trail.”

What is a food trail? It is a grouping of businesses that will be featured in a brochure and on the Travel Oregon website. These businesses should showcase locally sourced products and ingredients, and practice a farm-to-visitor model.

If you own a restaurant, bakery, brewery, winery, or distillery tasting room, farm, ranch, nursery, roadside stand, lodging facility (Air B&B, farm-stay experience, etc.), or any other type of business in Linn or Benton Counties that uses locally produced, sourced and grown ingredients, you may meet the project’s criteria.

Applications will be accepted until November 15, 2019 (Applications are now closed for 2019), and we anticipate acceptance decisions by early January. If your application is accepted, you will be required to attend a business training in January or February 2020 — before the official launch of the brochure in March 2020 — to learn more about the program, marketing and agritourism best practices.

Connect to more information and fill out the application.

If you have additional questions about the program, contact Rebecca Bond (rebecca@albanyvisitors.com) at Albany Visitors Association, or Christina Rehklau (christina@visitcorvallis.com) at Visit Corvallis.

Video about the Oregon Food Trails Program

Our friends and partners at Travel Oregon produced the following video snapshot about what defines a food trail and how it can be a major draw for your visitors.

 

Industry partner links

Travel Oregon and the Oregon Tourism Commission Sign up for industry newsletters, join a targeted tourism development group, participate in workshops, receive hospitality training, attend commission meetings and tourism conferences.

Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association Sign up for podcasts, industry video news, e-newsletters, and a variety of information pertaining to the restaurant and lodging industry—including important legislative bills.

Hospitality Vision A mobile “pocket” concierge and hospitality app developer, providing lodging and tourism partners with welcome screens, hotel digital directories, interactive GPS maps, food delivery systems, iPad concierge lobby services, lobby displays and local business coupons, hotel info channels, and much much more.

Willamette Valley Visitors Association “WVVA” is the tourism-marketing umbrella for destination marketing organizations that fall inside Willamette Valley counties, including Yamhill, Clackamas, Polk, Linn, Lane, Marion and the Mt. Hood Territory. WVVA offers multiple opportunities for industry businesses to obtain grants and training, and ways to keep in touch by subscribing to e-news, and publishing itineraries and blogs of interest to visitors.

Photo of a vendor at the Oregon Governor's Conference on TourismConferences

Travel and Words Conference This annual conference is produced by a group of travel media and industry professionals who live and work in the Northwest. The next conference takes place May 3 -5, 2020 in Bend, Oregon.

The goals of the Travel and Words conference are to:

  • Explore changes and trends in the freelance travel writing world.
  • Facilitate mutually productive networking between destination marketers and freelance writers.
  • Support travel and tourism industry professionals who highlight destinations, attractions and all season recreation in Washington, Oregon Idaho, Montana, Alaska and British Columbia.
  • Educate participants about the use of social media and online forums in marketing one’s brand related to travel writing.
  • Expose freelance writers to potential editorial markets, including print and new media.
  • Address best practices of interest to travel writers, bloggers, editors and destination marketers.

Industry associates may find it beneficial to either attend the conference or exhibit as a vendor.

Oregon Rural Tourism Conference Travel Oregon is hosting this first-ever rural-focused conference that delivers practical and applicable education, collaboration and networking opportunities that support Oregon’s destination marketing and management organizations, businesses and industry partners that work in rural communities. The conference is at Sunriver Resort in Central Oregon, April 26-28, 2020.

For the purposes of the conference, rural is defined as a city that is less than 25,000 population and not adjacent to or part of an urban or metropolitan area. Anyone who works in, or with, rural Oregon communities is invited to attend the conference.

  • Attend Registration is now open. The cost to attend is $200. Scholarships are available through Travel Oregon and Visit Central Oregon. 
  • Register at www.oregonruraltourismconference.com, where you will find details on the conference agenda, workshop session topics and more.

Partners, sponsorship and exhibitors As an Oregon Rural Tourism Conference Sponsor or Exhibitor Partner, your support of this conference ensures the right people are able to attend at the right price point. Whatever your level of support, we know your investment in this new conference will bring significant returns on investment, along with the benefit of being further invested in the people and places within the rural communities of our state.

To understand the different partnership opportunities and price points, visit the website or contact Travel Oregon’s Director of Strategic Partnerships, Lisa Itel.  Contact events@traveloregon.com if you have any questions about Travel Oregon’s conferences.

Oregon Destination Association Conference The date and location for the 2021 ODA Annual Conference will be announced soon. (The conference was just held at the end of January 2020.) This is a tourism destination marketing association conference. A lineup of exceptional content, educational panels, keynote speakers and exhibitor vendors is in development. To receive information about exhibitor sponsorship opportunities and registration for 2021, please contact OregonDestinationManager@gmail.com. For more information, visit: http://oregondmo.com/conferences/

Oregon Governor’s Conference on Tourism Organized by Travel Oregon, this industry-wide conference brings organizations and businesses together to educate, inspire and connect tourism stakeholders and partners. Through innovative programming, the conference will help guide and align Oregon’s seven diverse regions. Attend and/or be a sponsor or exhibitor. Anyone in the tourism or hospitality industry can register. The next conference will be held April 11-13, 2021 in Portland at the Oregon Convention Center. Registration and room blocks will open January 2021. Check the Travel Oregon Industry website for information.

Travel Advisory for Albany and Linn County
- COVID-19 Updates
Albany, Oregon for the Holidays
- Bring the Holiday Cheer
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