Travel Oregon, the Oregon Tourism Commission, has partnered with Sustainable Travel International
to launch the Oregon Travel Philanthropy Fund
, the first statewide program of its kind. The program will support sustainable tourism development in Oregon by connecting businesses and travelers to projects that improve the environment, support local culture and enhance the destination for future visitors, according to Travel Oregon
Participating businesses throughout the state can raise funds for projects via an optional $1 donation from customers. All projects selected as beneficiaries of the fund protect Oregon’s natural assets and/or support communities in a way that improves their appeal as a destination.
Administrators will work with lodging properties during the initial phase of the program, which runs through 2012. Other types of businesses, such as restaurants, tour operators and retail stores, will be invited to participate in the next phase. Individuals and corporations can also contribute directly to the fund.
“Oregonians have a rich history of stewardship of the land and love of community,” said Kristin Dahl, Travel Oregon’s Senior Manager of Destination Development. “This program is a natural fit as we will raise funds to directly improve and enhance Oregon communities. We expect this to result in enriching experiences for visitors and participating businesses.”
The fund will support one project from each of Oregon’s seven tourism regions. Examples include supporting agritourism in Eastern Oregon by developing new point-of-sale options for local food products; creating a new recreation trail from the town of Rogue River to the Rogue River Valley; and planting and maintaining more than 5,000 trees along I-205, as part of the Greenspace Initiative in Portland.