Updated on June 27, 2022 by Axel Hernborg

Axel Hernborg

Portland is pretty unique. It has world-renowned chefs and hundreds of food carts; art in theaters and outside on the street; the world’s largest independent bookstore and highest concentration of craft breweries; a huge urban forest; and a bridge reserved for bicyclists.

The city’s top attractions are constantly evolving, creating exciting pop-ups, debuting new works and hosting events that attract both locals and visitors alike.

The city contains a wide variety of tourist attractions. The Washington Square and Pioneer Place are major shopping destinations. The Portland Art Museum, and Portland Institute for Contemporary Art offer cultural, historic, and modern art.

Here are some of the citys tourism industry statistics and trends.

PRE & POST PANDEMIC TRENDS

  • Portland is Oregon’s largest metropolis and is a haven for eco-activists, cyclists, artists, outdoorsy folk, hipsters, and vegans. It is a laid-back city with a small-town feel, filled with charming neighborhoods and a hip downtown area.
  • Portland is nicknamed “the City of Roses” (after roses became a common garden staple in the late 19th century) and “Stumptown” (due to lots of tree stumps remaining after the city expanded and clear-cut the surrounding area in the mid-19th century).
  • The city’s thriving and ever-expanding community of artists, designers and makers also helps foster Portland’s culture of embracing individuality and creative expression.
  • Visitor spending in Portland reached a high of $5.625 billion in 2019, the highest total ever. In 2020, that number fell off almost 60 percent, to $2.180 billion—then ticked back up in 2021, to $3.765 billion. 
  • 2021 brought some recovery for Portland’s tourism industry, per new data, but the city still has a ways to go to get back to its pre-pandemic status with visitors.
  • Portland’s hospitality industry is tentatively rebounding after two brutal years, but it could be years—optimistically, not until 2024—before its hotels, short-term rentals, and airport usage reach pre-pandemic use levels.
  • The Portland Region grew even faster than the state as a whole, experiencing an increase of 72.7% in travel spending. Oregon travel spending grew an estimated 64.8% in 2021.
  • In 2021, visitors to Portland spent $3.8 billion, producing $193 million in state and local tax revenue.
  • Easing the tax burden for local and state residents, area travelers generated $193 million in tax revenues. Of that total, $88 million was local tax revenue.
  • There are nearly 10,000 hotel rooms in Portland’s central city, which includes the Lloyd District. 
  • Collectively, central city hotels had revenue of more than $450 million in 2019; in 2021, it was just $180 million.
  • Leisure and hospitality is down 19,400 jobs compared with pre-pandemic employment, or 9% below its peak. 
  • The travel industry supports 36,930 jobs in the Portland area, generating $1.6 billion in employment earnings. 

MOTIVES AND HABITS

  • Visitors traveling to Portland for the day spent, on average, almost $290.
  • Overnight visitor volume increased from 6.8 million person trips in 2020 to 11.3 million person-trips in 2021. This represents an increase of 66.2%.
  • 3 million domestic visitors traveled to Portland by air in 2021. This is an increase of 86.1% from 2020 visitation of 1.2 million.
  • Visitors who stay in hotels, motels, or short-term vacation rentals (STVR) increased by 94.6%. All other overnight visitor’s camping stays with friends and family, and second home use increased by 32.5%.

OTHER TRENDS

  • The You Can, in Portland winter advertising campaign (November 2018 – March 2019) generated more than $95.1 million in incremental visitor spending, according to an ad accountability study by Phocuswright.
  • The phrase “Keep Portland Weird” actually has roots in Austin, Texas, where independent businesses adopted the slogan “Keep Austin Weird” in 2002 to encourage people to shop locally.
  • Portland is very limited in choices for staying compared to the likes of New York City. Most visitors decide that Downtown is the only option.
  • Past travelers have spent, on average, $34 on meals for one day and $20 on local transportation. Also, the average hotel price in Portland for a couple is $152.
  • The best time to visit Portland is from June to August when consistently warm weather allows the city’s outdoorsy culture to thrive. Plus, summer is when the city’s roses (especially at the International Rose Test Garden) are in full bloom. However, this is also the peak tourist season.
  • Canada by far has the largest visitor population to Portland, visitors from Canada topped over 580,000 in 2017.
  • Many places to stay in Portland offer free shuttle service. Rental car, taxi, limo services are available on-site. 
  • Visitors generate 20% of the state’s Gross State Product.
  • Portland is viewed as one of the more remote cities in the country, being in the northwest of America, north of LA.
  • Portland is a renowned culinary destination — broadly speaking, it’s a city famous for fresh food featuring local ingredients.
  • Portland visitors come from Brazil, Japan, China, UK, Germany, Australia, Mexico, South Korea, and Canada.
  • 2.3 million domestic visitors traveled to Portland by air in 2021. This is an increase of 86.1% from 2020 visitation of 1.2 million.
  • Travel Portland’s Convention Sales team books at least 270,000 definite room nights.
  • It Generates at least $14 million in revenue for the Oregon Convention Center.
  • Portland offers tax-free shopping, diverse cultural offerings, live music, and award-winning culinary experiences.

REFERENCES

https://www.travelportland.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/PDX_Draft_2021p.pdf

https://www.travelportland.com/about-us/

https://www.pdxmonthly.com/news-and-city-life/2022/05/portland-tourism-industry-2022

https://www.travelportland.com/

https://www.urbanabroad.com/is-portland-safe/

https://www.oregonlive.com/entertainment/erry-2018/05/00842770311586/where_in_the_world_do_oregon_t.html

https://www.pdxmonthly.com/news-and-city-life/2022/05/portland-tourism-industry-2022