Portland getting better? Travel Portland says tourist spending up first time since 2019

Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 6:21 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Travel Portland had some good news for the City of Portland Wednesday, after they reported seeing visitors spend more than $5 billion last year for the first time since 2019.

“Portland is on its way back. We are on the rocket ship that Portland used to be. We’re not quite there yet but we’re gaining ground by the day,” President and CEO of Travel Portland, Jeff Miller, said.

[Article continues below video | FOX 12 asks: Is Portland getting better?]

He said tourists spent $5.2 billion in the Portland area in 2022, well below the $5.6 billion spent in 2019. However, Miller said these numbers are trending in the right direction and their goal is to reach $6 billion spent in the next few years.

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He said a big piece of the tourism industry is conventions and those are bringing people to town this month and beyond.

“Healthcare is certainly back on the convention side, education. We booked the largest convention ever for Portland for 2025. The National Education Association - almost 34,000 room nights,” he said.

Miller also points to positive stories about Portland’s restaurant scene and their advertising in cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, all things driving visitors back to the Northwest.

“I think the culinary experience always drives visitation here and if there’s anything Angelinos like it’s good food and we have it,” he said.

After hearing these numbers and seeing Apple take its fencing down from their store downtown, FOX 12 set up a microphone and asked people walking by: Is Portland getting better?

Young, old, professionals and visitors all shared what they think.


“I think it’s definitely getting better than it was over COVID and quarantine, even the Apple store, the barricades are down more but definitely still has problems.”

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“Absolutely not.”

“For me, that’s not what I’m seeing with the drug problems that are going on. You totally have to be, too on guard more than you have to be, and there doesn’t seem to be appropriate solutions. I understand why Measure 110 was put into place and I agree with the sentiment, but it didn’t do the whole job it made things worse.”

“I think we are slowly progressing to be, like, a better community but I that overall it’s still a little rough around the edges but we’re definitely going to a better future.”

“I’ve been working in downtown Portland for about 35 years and I’m going to say no, it’s not getting better.”