BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — A $60,000 gift from Visit McMinnville will enable the Sustainable Tourism Lab at Oregon State University-Cascades to help support the tourism bureau’s goals to serve visitor needs and advance community quality of life.
A town of 33,000 in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, McMinnville attracts visitors and residents in part because of its historic downtown and surrounding wine region. The community faces similar challenges to destinations across the U.S., where tourism is key to regional economic development, yet needs to be balanced with the needs and desires of community members.
“We are inspired by and grateful for Visit McMinnville’s investment in a long-term vision to become a model for sustainable tourism, where the needs of future generations of visitors and community members are recognized,” said Todd Montgomery, director of the lab and executive-in-residence in the OSU-Cascades hospitality management program.
Work on the project began in October, when a team of students from OSU-Cascades surveyed local residents and captured sentiments regarding tourism and community quality of life. The survey results will help determine next steps around engaging stakeholders and ultimately in determining how to best invest tourism development funding.
Montgomery, who is also the holder of the Robin and Curt Baney Professorship in Hospitality Management, sees the impact of Visit McMinnville’s gift reaching beyond Oregon.
“With so little research available for communities seeking to build sustainable tourism practices, Visit McMinnville’s generosity can help us design best practices that will serve not only other Oregon communities, but communities across the country,” he said.
“Collaborating with the Sustainable Tourism Lab at OSU-Cascades is a critical investment foundational to our work,” said Jeff Knapp, president and CEO of Visit McMinnville. “Visit McMinnville’s mission is to cultivate the visitor economy to help steward quality of life for McMinnville. This valuable effort will guide sustainable growth in McMinnville and ensure the community’s voice is heard along the way.”
The Sustainable Tourism Lab was founded by Montgomery and launched with a seed gift from Visit Bend. The lab collaborates with tourism bureaus to research and design sustainable solutions to the address challenges of balancing tourism and quality of life.
“I am grateful to Visit McMinnville for their generous commitment to this project,” said Shawn L. Scoville, president and CEO of the OSU Foundation, which secured the gift. “Their investment is an example of how philanthropy can drive impact for the greater good, providing enriching opportunities for faculty experts and students to contribute to a more sustainable and prosperous future for Oregonians.
NewsChannel 21’s Bola Gbadebo plans to speak with the founder of the Sustainable Tourism Lab, Todd Montgomery, and the CEO of Visit McMinnville Jeff Knapp, about the collaboration.
Her report will be on KTVZ at 5.
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