With the return of major summer events such as the Rose Festival and the Waterfront Blues Festival, tourism officials are expecting a strong year.
PORTLAND, Oregon. “After battling tourism for the past two years, the city of Portland could soon see its biggest influx of visitors since the start of the pandemic.
Marcus Hibdon of Travel Portland said demand for hotel rooms is on the rise and it looks like it will be a strong season for summer tourism.
“Demand for hotel rooms is up almost 105% year-over-year, and hotel revenues are up almost 160% from January to April,” he said.
Hibdon said major events such as the Rose Festival, the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the Waterfront Blues Festival are expected to attract many tourists. He said the COVID restrictions that prevented such attractions last summer had a big impact on tourism.
“We think it will probably be a couple more years before we hit the record levels we hit in 2018 and 2019, but time will tell. The pandemic seems to be easing, which is great,” Hibdon said.
RELATED: Prepare For Sticker Shock If You Travel This Summer
Cheryl’s on 12th in downtown Portland was packed on a sunny Tuesday afternoon. Owner Cheryl Casey, although she has returned to normal in recent months, her business is dependent on Portland’s tourism industry.
“We really need summer. This is where a lot of our business comes from and it helps us get through the winter, slower times,” Casey said. “We had a great weekend last Memorial Day. It was very crowded,” Casey said.
Hibdon said business travel is recovering more slowly than the leisure sector.
“A lot of people are still working from home,” Hibdon said. “Many businesses are yet to return to offices, and that’s in downtown Portland and across the country.”
RELATED: Portland’s Big Flower Parade to Stick East Side This Year