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Letters, Dec. 17

Renew Brand USA

Tourism is a crucial part of the Southern Oregon economy, with travelers spending nearly $1.1 billion in the region in 2017. This spending directly resulted in more than 12,000 jobs for local residents.

A big part of that positive impact comes from international travelers who choose to come to Southern Oregon to see Crater Lake, take in a play at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, explore the Oregon Caves, go wine tasting or another multitude of activities that exist in Southern Oregon. These international travelers stay longer and spend more, creating a significant impact to our local economy.

In 2017, international travelers spent more than $51 million in the region. With seemingly endless choices for travel and finite resources, how do we capture their attention? By partnering with Brand USA, the nation’s tourism marketing entity — all at no cost to taxpayers.

International visitation is a success story in Southern Oregon; it seems natural that our federal policymakers would seek to renew Brand USA. If you or your family are positively affected by tourism, now is the time to reach out to U.S. Rep. Greg Walden and thank him for his important work on Brand USA and urge him to continue to talk to congressional leadership to include it in the end-of-the-year funding package. His constituents are counting on him.

Brad Niva

Executive director, Travel Southern Oregon

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