What is the OSG Extension Sustainable Tourism & Outdoor Recreation (STOR) Program?

The STOR program focuses its efforts on supporting communities and businesses through applied research, training, and advising, often at minimal or no cost.  This program collaborates with various stakeholders, including:

  • Visitor bureaus
  • Tour operators
  • Guides
  • Governmental agencies
  • Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)

Here are a few examples of resources that the STOR Program offers online:

By focusing on sustainable tourism, the program aligns with the definition set forth by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which considers the current and future economic, social, and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment, and host communities. This program is part of both Oregon Sea Grant and OSU Extension.

What is Oregon Sea Grant?

Oregon Sea Grant (OSG), based at Oregon State University, is part of a nationwide network of 34 university-based programs that facilitate connections between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and local communities. 

With a core focus on research, outreach, and education, OSG’s goal is to enhance the understanding, conservation, and sustainable utilization of marine and coastal resources. OSG’s work spans various areas, such as coastal hazards, invasive species, and sustainable coastal tourism. OSG also manages the Hatfield Visitor Center, which is part of the larger Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, OR.

What is OSU Extension Service?

The OSU Extension Service is a statewide public service program through OSU that provides educational outreach to all 36 counties in Oregon. The Extension Service is a national program supported by the US Department of Agriculture, that is a component of each state’s land grant public university. Extension offices are located in each county in the country. Its primary focus includes promoting healthy communities and economies, preserving natural ecosystems, and supporting sustainable agriculture, among other initiatives. The youth leadership 4-H Program is one of the Extension system’s best known programs.

The core mission of OSU Extension is to strengthen Oregon’s communities with research-based knowledge. OSU Extension is broken down into multiple program areas, all of which share common values such as community-based relationships, accountability, credibility, diversity, partnerships, and responsiveness. OSG is one of OSU Extension’s program areas. 

Are you passionate about nature and travel? Learn how Oregon State University’s Sustainable Tourism Management program helps students make a positive impact on the environment while pursuing a rewarding career in the tourism industry.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, sustainable tourism can be described as a form of tourism that thoroughly considers its present and future effects on the economy, society, and environment. It aims to cater to the requirements of not only visitors, but the industry, the environment, and local communities involved as well.

Oregon State University offers a Bachelor of Science in Tourism, Recreation, and Adventure Leadership (TRAL) degree in the College of Forestry. Within this major, there are 4 concentrations that a student can choose to focus on:
1) outdoor recreation management,
2) adventure leadership education,
3) nature, eco and adventure tourism, and
4) sustainable tourism management. 

The sustainable tourism management option aims to equip students with the skills to effectively plan, develop, and manage nature-based tourism across the globe in collaboration with communities, non-governmental organizations, and governments. Nature-based tourism refers to when visitors travel to a destination to experience and enjoy nature. Students in sustainable tourism management will learn and focus on these things:

  • Sustainability– learn about the triple bottom line (social, environmental, economic)
  • Natural Resources– learn about the relationship between visitors and ecology
  • Business and Management– learn how to apply the best practices
  • Monitoring and assessment tools– learn how to create and interpret data
  • Physical and Social Sciences– learn how multiple disciplines work together
  • Equity– learn about the cultural resources and complex histories of communities
  • And more!

Upon completing the program, graduates can follow various career paths, working in either the public or private sector. Below are just a few examples of agencies and positions of what someone with a sustainable tourism management degree could pursue:

  • US Forest Service
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • National Park Service
  • Naturalist positions
  • Resource planner
  • Tourism specialists

For more information, check out the College of Forestry advising guide!

In 2022, a staggering $13.9 billion was generated by Oregon’s travel and tourism industry. This industry not only brings immense revenue but also offers over 117,000 jobs to Oregonians, as reported by Travel Oregon

So, how exactly does tourism thrive in the state? The following three organizations are important to tourism in Oregon: Travel Oregon, the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association, and the Oregon Destination Association. 

Travel Oregon serves as the official tourism destination marketing organization (DMO) for the state. With a mission to encourage economic growth and enhance the quality of life in Oregon, this agency focuses on promoting tourism on a statewide level. Travel Oregon partners with Oregon’s regional and local DMOs across the state to effectively execute their strategies for success in Oregon.

The Oregon Destination Association (ODA) serves as a membership association that creates a statewide network of regional and local DMOs. ODA acts as a unifying force, through connecting tourism-related businesses and services with not only each other but entities such as Travel Oregon and the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. As a leading voice of the tourism industry in Oregon, ODA fosters collaboration and serves as a platform for education, leadership development, and industry advocacy. 

The Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association (ORLA) is the primary business association representing the food service and lodging sector in Oregon. ORLA advocates for over 10,000 foodservice locations and more than 2,400 lodging establishments in the state, with over 3,000 members. ORLA plays a pivotal role in protecting, improving, and promoting hospitality in Oregon. 

Oregon’s tourism industry owes much of its success to the collaborative efforts of key organizations such as Travel Oregon, the Oregon Destination Association (ODA), and the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA). 

These organizations work to promote Oregon as a premier travel destination, foster industry partnerships, advocate for the interests of tourism-related businesses, and enhance the overall visitor experience. As the state continues to attract travelers from around the world, these organizations will remain crucial in shaping and sustaining Oregon’s tourism industry.