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Soul Inspired refresh 2024 -

Lower Columbia Tourism Committee

The purpose of the LCTC is to: Promote, develop and coordinate tourism-related economic activity in the Astoria and Warrenton region, with emphasis on spreading visitation outside of the heavily-trafficked summer season. This mission will be accomplished utilizing a variety of marketing, management and promotion strategies and in collaboration with other organizations and stakeholders. The committee will also seek to foster resident and visitor awareness of tourism’s effect on our environment, as well as the enhancement of our local economy and quality of life, in line with statewide and regional efforts.

The LCTC is an independent committee formed as the Destination Marketing/Management Organization (DMO) for Astoria and Warrenton,  It was established by a cooperative effort of both city governments with cooperation and participation by the Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce.  The Chamber is the fiduciary entity, has two non-voting members on the committee, and provides resources and staff time to accomplish the work of the committee.

Contact Regina, AWACC Marketing Director, by email or call the Chamber at (503) 325-6311 to learn more.

Where do the LCTC’s Funds Come From?

The Cities of Astoria and Warrenton distribute funds to the LCTC which are derived from the Transient Lodging Tax collected in our communities to be used exclusively for tourism promotion. These are the lodging taxes that are paid by visitors staying at campgrounds, hotels, vacation rentals and more. The distribution is different for each city. TLT goes into the general fund as well as toward tourism promotion, and the LCTC gets a portion of the promotional monies.

Maintaining and promoting tourism requires adequate funding, and in Oregon, like most areas in the US,  the main source of revenue for tourism-related initiatives is the Transient Lodging Tax. Marketing efforts to attract visitors to specific areas are conducted by destination marketing organizations (DMOs). DMOs are the organizations that promote and coordinate tourism in their respective area. This article from Oregon State University explains this structure well.

In 2003, Oregon created a state transient lodging tax and set perameters to protect and encourage use of TLT toward promotion and development of tourism facilities. This investment of TLT is intended to

Learn more here about the statewide Transient Lodging Tax and 2003's HB2267 and 2016's HB4146 that concerns how those funds may be used statewide and locally.

Who can Join the LCTC?

The membership of the LCTC consists of representatives from each of the following categories. A membership term is 3-years and can be renewed.

(3) At-Large
(8) Tourism Industry - lodging, food/beverage, attractions, non-profits, parks, etc.
(1) City of Astoria
(1) City of Warrenton
(1) Port of Astoria
(1) AWACC board member
(2) non-voting members from the Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce (Executive Director and Marketing Director)

* At least 4 members should work or primarily reside in Warrenton and at least 6 members should work or primarily reside in Astoria.

Engage with us!

Be a part of the conversation on social media or give us a suggestion for a future trip idea or email newsletter topic.



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Economic Impacts of Tourism in Oregon and our Local Area

Travel Oregon has worked with Dean Runyan Associates to estimate the economic significance of the travel industry in Oregon since 2003. The report describes the economic impacts of travel to and through the state, each of its seven tourism regions and all 36 counties.

In addition to these reports, the LCTC has contracted Dean Runyan to provide a report for Astoria and Warrenton from 2020 to 2022.

The travel industry represents an important component of Oregon's state economy. Spending associated with travel in Oregon generates earnings, employment and taxes throughout the state. Many counties in Oregon contain attractive travel destinations and count the travel industry as a primary economic industry in their area. Travel impacts measure the economic activity associated with the activity of travel within a region. As travel is a broad activity that encompasses many other activities (transportation, lodging, eating & drinking, recreational activities, etc.), it is necessary to make estimates for each of the composite elements of travel in order to arrive at a total number.

In 2022, there was nearly $120 million in travel spending in Astoria and Warrenton. It is estmated that about half of our overnight visitors stay with family, friends or in second homes. The average visit is 2.5 days. About 20% of all Clatsop County travel impacts occur here in Astoria and Warrenton. More than 4,400 jobs in our communities are created by travel, which represents about 40% of all employment.

Our Partners and Resources for the Industry

Travel Oregon - Industry Resources webpage

Oregon Coast Visitors Association - Industry Resources webpage

The LCTC has access to many reports shared by colleagues in the industry as well as our own recent studies. This data helps inform our work.


Research Reports

Oregon Econ Impacts: 2022 Overview        Full Report

Oregon 2021-2023 KPIs: Resident and Visitor Sentiment

Oregon Research Dashboard: visitor profile, travel barometer and more


Astoria and Warrenton Economic Impacts of Tourism


Marketing for Awareness

Our committee's work began in the 1990s, engaging with separate advertising agent and public relations firm whose principals both had strong local connections. They understood the shifting environment in Astoria and Warrenton as our community looked to tourism as an additional industry to help fill gaps as timber and fishing businesses were scaled back. We knew our area had a lot to offer residents and visitors seeking recreational opportunities and these first years our job was to share that message with potential travelers. These ads and articles often provided lists touting the numerous historical sites, fishing opportunities and other recreational activities in our region. As Astoria and Warrenton hit their stride, more restaurants, hotels and activities were opening and being added to the itineraries for visitors. The KOA opened in Hammond in the late 1990s. At that time we also saw the beginning of the restoration of the Liberty Theatre and Hotel Elliott that spurred a renaissance throughout downtown Astoria. The Old 300 Trolley was brought to Astoria and quickly became an icon on our riverfront. Renowned chefs and quirky cafes solidified our presence on lists for foodies and microbrews started flowing. From 2004 through 2006 the committee's messaging highlighted the nationally-celebrated bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  In 2011, we called attention to Astoria's bicentennial.

Since 2010, our earned and paid media placements have been built together for a cohesive message and efficient use of our resources.  This was around the time that we were hearing from local businesses that the visitor season had expanded beyond the summer months. Our committee's work - alongside many businesses' efforts - to make a case for year-round travel to our region had paid off. There are slower times for visitation, but not to the detrimental status it once was. We began shifting some of our work to other niche campaigns like encouraging conferences and meetings to bring weekday bookings to the area.

The worldwide pandemic and it effects on travel and commerce gave our committee another chance to review our goals and programs, as well as trends in tourism throughout the pacific Northwest. In recent years, many of our discussions at meetings have involved concepts of REGENERATIVE and SUSTAINABLE TOURISM. Through the pandemic years we were able to build on our relationship with our fans and followers to let them know about changing expectations and adapting to varying business practices in use.

Currently, our paid placements of brand awareness advertisements occur between October and Mid-May to focus our limited marketing budget to the season when it is most impactful. We maintain our social media presence and similar engagements year-round so that we can continue to be a reliable source of information for those in-market or planning for future visits.

LCTC's Projects and Initiatives

A look at some of our work:

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats - Oregon's North Coast
In tourism, like many industries, collaboration is prevalent and many of our colleagues around the state get together to share key learnings, successful programs and to help each other tackle problems.

In 2011, we formed a partnership with our peers in Seaside and Cannon Beach to establish the Oregon's North Coast Marketing Coalition. By working together, we have developed marketing campaigns that we would not have afforded on our own. This team-up shines a light on  multi-day, multi-city itineraries and encourages more visitors to stay longer and explore further and return.

Oregon's North Coast has its own website and Instagram page.


Meetings and Groups
The LCTC has a project group dedicated to building awareness in this area as a location for small conferences and meetings. Group business like this often happens mid-week and during the off-season. Our committee members and chamber staff can suggest venues that would be a good fit for the meeting as well as catering, excursions, entertainment and more. Committee members attend trade shows for this market, belong to MPI and similar associations and network around the region to support this market.

We have a landing page for meeting information on our website.


Accessibility: Travel for All
In 2022, a contingent of tourism reps from the Oregon Coast attended the TravelAbility conference in Orlando, FL, including a rep from the LCTC. This group, with support from Oregon Coast Visitors Association, evaluated several opportunities to help our region better connect with travelers with disabilities. Several communities received grant funding from Travel Oregon to support work in this area.

In 2023, the LCTC began a partnership with Wheel the World. WTW visited 40 sites in Astoria and Warrenton to establish a comprehensive assessment of our destination. WTW works to provide disabled travelers with comprehensive, accurate information to make their stay on the Oregon Coast more accessible. Uncertainty about access is a major factor in people choosing not to travel to a destination and this program will help travelers book with confidence. They have created a landing page for the Destination Verified partners, like Astoria and Warrenton.

This work is ongoing and will also include training resources for local staff. Some results can be found on this resource page as well as these stories by Wheel the World and Traveling with a Chair.


Working with Local Partners

We have supported other local initiatives that uphold the requirements of TRT spending including, but not limited to:
North Coast Craft Beer Trail
North Coast Food Trail
Astoria Visual Arts Gallery Guide
North Coast Tourism Management Network
Haunted Astoria programming
Antiques Historia
Fisher Poets Gathering


The gallery below shows a selection of advertising graphics we've used over the years in our print and digital marketing. You may recognize it!

Coverage Highlights

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