The venues hosted 1,445 events, which collectively translated to 8,470 jobs and $33.3 million in tax revenue.
Over 3.5 million visitors spend time in Metro’s visitor venues each year, participating in business-to-business events, attending arts performances, discovering wildlife and enjoying lifestyle and hobby shows. Combined, the venue business creates an enormous economic impact for the region and state as well as contributes to the creation of thousands of jobs across the metropolitan area. The collective benefit of travel and tourism to the Portland region is closely monitored and monetized by Travel Portland.
“I am proud that our venues offer economic benefits, enhanced cultural experiences, engagement with the arts for Title-1 schools and progress in conservation efforts for our region. In addition, the tax revenue generated helps pay for schools, safety and roads,” said Scott Cruickshank, general manager of Metro’s visitor venues.
Travel is a primary driver of economic growth and job creation in the United States. Oxford Economics reports that growth in travel and tourism employment in a destination tends to be followed by a 1.5 percent rise in broader employment. Nationwide, 15.1 million Americans – one in nine private-sector jobs – depend on travel for their livelihood. Metro’s four visitor venues create 8,470 jobs throughout the greater Portland region.
The U.S. Travel Association tracks tourism careers paths. Its research suggests two out of five workers who started in the field are now earning six figures annually.
“The expectation and social contract with the residents of the Metro region is that the Oregon Convention Center attracts and supports activities that create jobs and produce robust economic impacts. I’m proud to report that we continue to deliver on our promise to the public and in fiscal year 2017 we generated more than $626 million of total spending,” said Craig Stroud, executive director of the Oregon Convention Center.
Attendees of national conventions spend an average of $404 per day in Oregon. Since the August groundbreaking of the Hyatt Regency Portland adjacent to the convention center, convention sales teams have been proposing to future city-wide conventions that have historically overlooked Portland as a destination because of a lack of a convention center headquarters hotel. Since November, 10 of 18 proposals have been accepted for future years, representing 68,337 room nights. This initial business translates to an increase of $27.6 million in visitor spending to the region for these future bookings. Additionally, in the first 10 years of operation, the Hyatt Regency Portland is estimated to generate $56 million in state taxes and $47 million in city and county taxes. Renovations at the Oregon Convention Center are scheduled to begin in August to enhance the offerings and experiences of future convention guests.
The Portland Expo Center benefits greater Portland through consumer public tradeshows and community events like home and garden, automotive, RV, antique and outdoor shows. In 2017, the Portland Expo Center hosted new events, saw existing shows grow and added self-promoted events to the calendar that benefited the community. The year also included events that focused on the site’s history for people of color in the greater Portland region, including the Vanport Flood and the internment of Japanese-Americans at the Expo Center during World War II.
“The Oregon Nikkei Endowment worked diligently on the 75th Anniversary Return and Remembrance Event to honor numerous Japanese-Americans held at the Portland Assembly Center during WWII. I am grateful for their work in sharing Expo’s historic past and the message of Never Again,” said Mathew Rotchford, executive director of the Expo Center.
The Oregon Zoo continues to have the highest attendance of any ticketed attraction in the state, with more than 1.5 million visits in FY16-17, and its popularity is only expected to grow with the completion of the eight major projects made possible by a community-supported zoo bond measure. “The most recent of our projects – the Education Center – opened in March. I am thrilled about the conservation education programs and partnerships this new space is making possible,” said Dr. Don Moore, Oregon Zoo director.
Portland’5 Centers for the Arts is the fifth largest performing arts center in the U.S. with nearly 1,000 shows each year held in its five venues – the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Keller Auditorium, and three theaters inside Antoinette Hatfield Hall, including Winningstad Theater, Newmark Theater and Brunish Theater. Previous top-selling events have included The Lion King, Wicked and Book of Mormon and upcoming Hamilton is expected to break record sales.
Robyn Williams, Portland’5 executive director, was enthusiastic about the preservation of the beloved and iconic “Portland” sign on the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall as well as the dynamic and informative educational programs for Title-I school students. “Our Education Program gives disadvantaged children an opportunity to see shows that otherwise they would never be able to see and we now know that youth exposed to and inspired by the arts have better academic outcomes and are more engaged in their communities. The school kids are provided a curriculum in advance that deepens the value of their experiences with discussion topics about the roots of jazz for example.”
Providing accessibility and equal access is a core mission of Portland’5 Centers for the Arts. The organization’s presenting program, P’5 Presents, was developed with Portland’s diverse community in mind to provide community value and create programming that reflects what Portlanders wants to see. “I am proud of our free series of events as well…all open to the public, from Poets On Broadway to Music on Main and Summer Arts on Main. These programs lead to access and exposure to the arts for all,” she stated.
Learn more about annual reports
View the Oregon Convention Center report
View the Portland Expo Center report
View the Oregon Zoo report
View the Portland'5 Centers for the Arts report