SALEM, Ore., Feb. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Feb. 14 is Oregon's birthday. So, what does one get a state that has everything? Travel Oregon, in partnership with Sustainable Travel International (STI), will give more than $36,000 to projects throughout the state that improve the environment, support local culture and enrich the destination for future visitors through the Oregon Travel Philanthropy Fund (OTPF). Travel Oregon and STI also announced today a new group of recipients for funds to be distributed in 2015 and 2016.
OTPF is the first statewide program of its kind. The goal of the program is to improve experiences for visitors and locals by connecting them to participating businesses that directly improve and enhance Oregon communities.
"Travel Oregon continually strives to create real economic impact in every corner of the state, while remaining stewards to the land," said Kristin Dahl, Travel Oregon's Director of Destination Development. "The projects we chose to support represent some of the best work being done to improve local economies, build community, and showcase the food and culture that make Oregon a premier destination."
The fund supports one project from each of Oregon's seven tourism regions. Recipients of the 2012-2013 Oregon Travel Philanthropy Funds were: Deschutes Restoration Outreach Program; the Living Highways Project; Mosier Plateau Trail Project; Rogue River Corridor and Greenway; Southern Willamette Valley Beans and Grain Project; the Sustainable Seafood Initiative; and Wallowa County Agritourism Development.
"The Oregon Travel Philanthropy Fund has proven itself to be a viable model for connecting visitors and businesses to sustainable tourism projects that make a difference," said Jeremy Sampson, Senior Destination Specialist at Sustainable Travel International. "Participants have left a lasting positive impact on the trails, vineyards, tide pools and towns of this iconic destination. We look forward to increasing funds in coming years."
The 2014-2015 OTPF recipients are: Bend Paddle Alliance; Camas County Mill Schoolhouse Project; The Fossil Educational Foundation; Hood River Area Trail Stewards; the Human Access Project; and The Nature Conservancy for its Table Rocks Interpretive and Netarts Bay Native Oyster Restoration Plans. Funds will be disbursed to support these projects in February 2015 and 2016.
Travel Oregon also announced last week that it will award $120,000 in matching grants to organizations throughout Oregon that contribute to the development and improvement of local communities throughout the state. These projects support Travel Oregon's mission of 'a better life for Oregonians through strong, sustainable local economies.'
The Oregon Tourism Commission, dba Travel Oregon, works to enhance visitors' experience by providing information, resources and trip planning tools that inspire travel and consistently convey the exceptional quality of Oregon. The commission aims to improve Oregonians' quality of life by strengthening economic impacts of the state's $9.2 billion tourism industry that employs more than 91,000 Oregonians. www.TravelOregon.com
Sustainable Travel International
Sustainable Travel International is a non-profit organization with a purpose. We've been collaborating with destinations, businesses and travelers to implement innovative sustainable tourism development and conservation solutions since 2002. We combine the mission and transparency of a non-profit NGO with the business acumen and expertise of the private sector, ensuring our partners achieve their desired results and receive a strong return on investment. www.SustainableTravel.org
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SOURCE Travel Oregon; Sustainable Travel International