Financial support from Visit Bend launches the Sustainable Tourism Lab at OSU-Cascades

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – The Oregon State University-Cascades announced Wednesday it will establish a research lab to provide data and services to help tourism entities across the country and in Bend balance visitor needs and impact on the community, through a commitment of $ 125,000 from Visit Bend, made through the OSU Foundation.

“We are grateful to Visit Bend for its generosity and visionary leadership in helping to launch a research lab that can support a sustainable economic, social and environmental future for tourism destinations like Bend,” said Andrew Ketsdever, vice president of interim OSU-Cascades, in the announcement press release, which continues in its entirety below:

Tourism accounts for 10% of global gross and $ 12.8 billion in direct spending in Oregon in 2019. Until now, little research was available to support best practices within the industry at scale. global, according to Todd Montgomery, executive in residence and Robin and Curt Baney, professor of hospitality management for the hotel management program at OSU-Cascades, and director of the new sustainable tourism laboratory.

“Tourism brings economic benefits to destinations, but if left unchecked it can also degrade the natural areas that make these places attractive to visit and experience,” Montgomery said. “We not only want to help maintain what makes these destinations special, but also balance issues like fair wages and affordable housing for tourism workers in these communities.”

“If it only benefits a few, it doesn’t work – it doesn’t work in the long run,” Montgomery said. “But if you can get everybody to understand that – it’s complicated but to use this lab as a way to create ideas, new ideas to hopefully move that needle, then that’s a really powerful thing. “

The Visit Bend giveaway will support continued measurement of community sentiment towards tourism in Bend and benchmark results against similar markets. Comments will be solicited from a range of community audiences, including business owners, recreation enthusiasts and underserved populations, to understand how the benefits and challenges of tourism are viewed across the board. a community.

“I am grateful to Visit Bend for their generous commitment to this project,” said Shawn L. Scoville, President and CEO of the OSU Foundation. “This research lab is a great example of how donor organizations can partner with OSU to help communities thrive.”

“I think we open our minds to the idea that the people who work in the industry are as important as the dollars generated by the industry,” said Kevney Dugan, CEO of Visit Bend. “And that’s when you get into wages or affordable housing, and other issues, and when you look at the whole industry, do we really explain everything that is. going there? “

Previous research conducted as part of the OSU-Cascades hospitality program investigated pre-pandemic workforce shortages in the national hospitality industry and recommended retention strategies for them. employers. He also looked at technological solutions to food waste in the hospitality industry. Montgomery is the co-host of a television show exploring the intersection of technology in the hospitality industry around the world.

The Sustainable Tourism Lab will draw on the skills of undergraduate student interns and faculty researchers in fields such as business, computer science and energy systems engineering. It should serve as a resource for the tourism industry, as well as for nonprofit, government and academic research partners, and communities.

“Visit Bend is deeply committed to supporting sustainable tourism,” said Visit Bend CEO Kevney Dugan. “By pledging financial support for this initiative, we are helping to preserve Bend’s special places for community members and future generations of guests.”

“I think we can learn a lot from destinations like Hawaii or other places about how they approached housing or how they approached wages or benefits,” said Dugan. “I think for us it’s really about getting smarter and as this industry evolves we understand what this landscape looks like.”

“Employers want to know what benefits and what things they can do to attract and retain the best response,” Montgomery added. “The employee side – they want to make sure they’re in a job they can stay with. “

About OSU-Cascades: Oregon State University’s Bend campus brings higher education to central Oregon, the state’s fastest growing region. Surrounded by 2.5 million acres of mountains and high desert, OSU-Cascades is a premier research university where small classes accelerate faculty-student mentorship. Degree programs meet the needs of industry and economics in areas such as innovation and entrepreneurship, natural ecosystems, health and wellness, the arts and sciences, and prepare students for the challenges of tomorrow. OSU-Cascades expands to serve 3,000 to 5,000 students, building a 128-acre campus with net zero goals.


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