The Economic Significance of Bicycle-Related Travel in Oregon: Detailed State and Travel Region Estimates, 2012

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Place: Statewide

Overview

This study found that bicycle-related tourism in Oregon attracts many visitors, both from within and outside the state, to participate in a range of activities. While the impacts of visitor spending are relatively small relative to the state’s economy, it likely has a large effect in smaller towns, especially when associated with large events.

Relevance

The overall economic impact results are specific to Oregon, but the study provides detailed information on the popularity of different activities and the daily spending associated with them. The report includes region-specific estimates of visitation and expenditures. By targeting a region with similar attributes, this information could help communities that are considering investing in and promoting bicycle-based tourism decide which activities are most appropriate for their community.

Location

This was a statewide assessment of bicycle-related travel in Oregon, broken out into seven regions: Central, Coast, Eastern, Gorge/Mt. Hood, Portland, Southern, and the Willamette Valley.

Trail Type

This study addressed all types of cycling in Oregon.

Purpose

The purpose of the study is to document the economic impact of bicycle-related travel in Oregon at the state and regional levels. The study was commissioned by Travel Oregon, the state’s tourism agency, which has the mission of increasing the economic impacts of tourism in the state.

Findings

  • There were 1.2 million trips in Oregon in 2012 that included bicycle recreation, either as the primary reason or as one of several. The average overnight trip lasted 3.6 nights.
  • Travel expenditures on these trips totaled roughly $400 million in 2012, and supported 4,600 jobs that provided $102 million in earnings.
  • Day road rides were associated with 422,000 annual trips, over one-third of all bicycle-related trips; overnight trips accounted for 18 percent of all bicycle-related trips.
  • Independent bicycle touring accounted for 51,000 trips, of which 84 percent were overnight trips.
  • The greatest numbers of trips were in the Portland Metro and Willamette Valley areas, accounting for 287,000 trips and 279,000 trips, respectively, nearly half of all trips in the state.
  • Central Oregon had the highest proportion of overnight trips, which accounted for two-thirds of its 147,000 trips.
  • The report includes detailed information about other activities participated in besides cycling, travel companions (e.g., family, friends), and how the respondent learned about the trip, broken out by type of activity.

Methods

The authors used two different survey methods to obtain data. The first was an online survey, advertised through several bicycle-related sources including group rides and events, campers at hiker/biker sites in Oregon State Park campgrounds, tour companies, cycling organizations, bike shops, and people who had inquired about cycling trips with Travel Oregon. This sample is likely more avid than the average resident.

The second method assessed the proportion of all Oregon visitors who participate in some kind of cycling. To collect these data, authors administered online surveys with a random sample of all Oregon travelers, including residents traveling within the state.

The authors estimate group expenditures and duration of stay for eight different types of activities: organized group tours, general recreation activities, sanctioned bicycle race, independent bicycle touring, day mountain bike rides, organized non-competitive group ride, day road ride, and other cycling events.

Combining visitation and expenditure data, the authors estimate economic impacts. It is unclear which specific statistical model they use. They summarized results for the state and by region.

Citation

Dean Runyan Associates. 2013. The Economic Significance of Bicycle-Related Travel in Oregon: Detailed State and Travel Region Estimates, 2012. Prepared for Travel Oregon.