The South Coast Tourism Steering Committee met on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at 1:00pm at the Charleston Marine Life Center.

This is the local group of volunteers working with a large network of people in the region as a result of the Travel Oregon Rural Tourism Studio process that happened in the Coos Region January-April, 2017

The members that attended were: Marie Simonds, Z Flathers, K Hope, F Bai, T Mace, J Bennetti, Shaun Gibbs, and Miles Phillips with Sea Grant Interns Dustin James and Catie Michel; and members that attended by phone were: Elena Vizzini, JP Bowles, and K Clayborn. ( Apologies to anyone we may have missed)

Sea Grant Tourism Program  Intern Catie Michel at the Charleston Marine Life Center before the meeting.

Marketing Action Team lead Marie Simonds reported that the team is making progress on completing the input of ORB data related to restaurants and tourism operations in the area to help promote them. Agritourism/Eat Fresh & Local Action Team lead Michelle Martin reported that their current main priorities include collaboration with the Wild Rivers Coast Farm Trail and interviewing local producers to gauge interest in being on a farm trail. the Outdoor Recreation Action Team is working on the final vetting of the Regional Trails Plan and construction of new trails in the area.

Sea Grant Tourism Program Intern Dustin James at the Charleston Marine Life Center before the meeting.

The Coos County Tourism Workgroup Board  has approved funding match of $10,000 and the Wild Rivers Coast Alliance has offered $10,000 for the other half of the required match for South Coast Tourism Steering Committee Travel Oregon Rural Tourism Studio grant application.

For more information regarding team efforts please feel free to contact the action team leads: Michelle Martin <mmartin@nwumpqua.org> , Dave Lacey, <dave@the peoplescoast.com> Marie Simonds< msimonds@wildriverscoastalliance.com>

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 Industry.TravelOregon.com/Matching-Grants.

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!