Lane County Travel Spending Continues to Grow
by Brian Rooney
Data from research firm Dean Runyan indicate that spending in the travel and tourism industry continued to grow in 2017 in Lane County after dropping off during the Great Recession.
The graph shows that travel spending in Lane County grew throughout the 1990s and peaked in 2008 at $717.0 million. As the Great Recession took hold in 2009, travel spending dropped $39.7 million, or 5.5 percent, to reach $677.3 million. Since then, travel spending has grown each year, reaching $954.6 million in 2017. The growth rate over the recovery period since 2009 was 40.9 percent, which was well ahead of the U.S. inflation rate of 14.2 percent, meaning that travel spending is growing beyond the rate of inflation. During the most recent year, from 2016 to 2017, travel spending increased $24.0 million, or 2.8 percent. This is slower growth than the 2016 rate of 6.9 percent.
The largest share of spending in 2017 was in food service (28.8%) followed by accommodations (19.6%); retail sales (13.5%); arts, entertainment, and recreation (12.4%); local transportation and gas (9.5%); food stores (9.4%); and visitor air transportation (6.8%).
Most travel spending occurred in the eastern portion of the county, which includes the Eugene-Springfield area, at $817.7 million (85.7%). The remaining $136.9 million of travel spending occurred in the coastal portion of the county.