Travel Oregon has announced the opening of two matching grants program opportunities with a combined $358,000 of available funds.

The program makes awards to eligible applicants for projects that contribute to the development and improvement of the tourism economy in communities throughout the state in support of Travel Oregon’s mission of “a better life for Oregonians through strong, sustainable local economies.”

The 2017-2018 Competitive Small Grants opening cycle has $200,000 available for grant awards. Eligible projects may be awarded up to $20,000. Applicants must demonstrate at least a 10 percent cash match. Download the Competitive Small Grants Guidelines for specific eligibility requirements and to view the application questions.

An additional $158,000 will be administered through the Oregon Wine Country Plates Matching Grants Program that awards up to $50,000 for wine and culinary tourism initiatives. Applicants must demonstrate a 1-to-1 match with at least 50 percent 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:

  • July 10, 2017 – Online application opens
  • Aug. 9, 2017 (5 p.m.) – Online application closes
  • Sept. 20, 2017 – Competitive Small Grants application status notification (work can officially begin)
  • Sept. 29, 2017 (5 p.m.) – Competitive Small Grants signed contract due to Travel Oregon
  • Oct. 4, 2017 – Oregon Wine Country Plates Grants application status notification (work can officially begin)
  • Oct. 13, 2017 (5 p.m.) – Oregon Wine Country Plates Grants signed and contract due to Travel Oregon

If grant funds remain, both programs may reopen in the fall.

Additional details can be found at

I am currently a 4th year Animal Science student with minors in Environmental Studies and Indigenous Studies at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA. As an Oregon Sea Grant Summer Scholar, I will be interning here with Oregon Sea Grant Tourism Program working from the Wild Rivers Coast Alliance to work on developing a tourism and outdoor recreation program for Oregon’s South Coast.

The long-term goals of this project are to raise the region’s profile as a tourist destination while prioritizing the triple bottom line of community, conservation, and economic development, and to later create a larger training program after which other coastal communities throughout the country can model in the future. I will be collecting, analyzing, and sharing data about tour operators – specifically whale watching, kayaking, and recreational fishing – in order to help inform business managers as they expand operations and effectively educate visitors of the region.

I am extremely interested in and excited about this project because it is both an opportunity to gain extensive knowledge of this beautiful region and an opportunity to study, experiment with, and apply the most effective methods of interpretation and science communication through the development of experiential, sustainable tourism. During this experience I hope to form valuable relationships between the WRCA, tourist entities, and other valuable stakeholders in order to help these organizations promote a vibrant, sustainable tourist economy while conserving the beautiful and resilient ecosystems of the southern Oregon coast.

Stay tuned for more posts in the future concerning the many things I will be learning and doing. I am very excited to be here!

My name is Dustin James. I am a student at University of California, San Diego. I am majoring in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution and minoring in Photography. In the fall of 2016 I participated in the Ecology and Conservation program that is run through the UC Natural Reserve system. In this program I gained knowledge on various field methods in ecology, data collection and data analysis, and scientific writing.

When I finally settled into my major I had thought that research was the only route that was available with such a degree. I had taken up a minor in Photography not as a career path but rather with the intent to further develop a hobby. The Ecology and Conservation program made me realize two things: that doing research was not the only way in which science can be communicated and that I liked photography more than I had initially thought.

This summer I am working for Oregon Sea Grant from the Wild Rivers Coast Alliance near Bandon, OR, conducting coastal tourism asset documentation and marketing through photography. This project’s purpose is to tie the tourist experience to resources in the local communities/local environment. I will do this through the acquisition of professional images, specifically for marketing purposes. These images, while ranging in content and subjectivity, will be meant to engage those who might not be familiar with Oregon’s southern coast by showcasing the services, amenities, and features that make the South Coast so unique. This makes it an ideal project to observe nature, document it, and use it in a way that is beneficial for the economies of the larger Oregon community.