In Oregon in 2019, total direct travel spending was $12.8 billion, a 3.6% increase over 2018 . Total travel-generated employment was 117,500. Oregon hosted over 29 million overnight visits in 2019. In 2020 Oregon travel spending declined by 49.5 percent from 2019, from $12.8 billion in 2019 to $6.5 billion in 2020. Employment directly related to tourism dropped by 22.1 percent. That translated to a loss of more than 26,000 jobs. ( Source: Dean Runyan & Associates Economic Impact of Travel in Oregon Report) The changes and impacts both locally and globally from COVID-19 restrictions may provide opportunities for tourism base recovery efforts by destination communities and travel companies to adjust practices that better suit sustainability goals. One of these tactics could be the increased use and management of high quality guided experiences and corresponding training. A local guide/tour company operating according to International best practices can generate economic growth, job opportunities, and enrich a visitor’s experience through collaboration with the destination community. Guide training and certification program work done by Texas AgriLife Extension (Miles Phillips) informed the initial format and methodology for the GORP. This work also included review and assessment of training and certification programs around the world.
To assist in the economic, social, and environmental ( triple bottom line ) efforts of destinations and tour operators, GORP is designed to provide a training and testing program that:
1) Recognizes the knowledge of existing professional guides without requiring weeks of expensive training, 2) Educates participants on International Best Practices and key locally specific knowledge, 3) Provides a method for communities and tourism marketing efforts to support professional guides in their marketing campaigns.
2021 NET Conference Proceedings
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