Holiday snow boosts C.O. tourism numbers

Timing of the holidays also played a part

Snow falls; C.O. tourism rises

BEND, Ore. - Snow over the holidays provided a strong tourism boost in Central Oregon at a crucial time that can make or break the winter season.

The year 2012 was a record for travel and tourism in our area, which is great news, especially after several years of recession.   

Central Oregon is popular as a summer destination, but it's also popular during the winter, with many skiing at Mt. Bachelor and Hoodoo.

"We had our fingers crossed and everything lined," Central Oregon Visitors Assocaition CEO Alana Hughson said Monday. "And we had a very successful holiday period this winter."

The December snow provided a strong opening to Mt. Bachelor, and more snow before the holiday period wasn't too much for travelers.

Hughson says it didn't prevent people from making the trip to Central Oregon.

"We are always in that situation where we have too much of a good thing or not enough of a good thing, and this year everything aligned beautifully," said Hughson.

Full rooms at destination resorts heavily impact the tourism industry, including the Seventh Mountain Resort.

"We had a great amount of snow. The tourists wanted to come out and ski and snowboard," said Seventh Mountain Director of Marketing Vanessa Berning. "They didn't let the weather get in the way, and clear road conditions always help us out."

Being 14 miles from Mt. Bachelor, Seventh Mountain Resort is the closest lodging.

"It has been busy," said Berning. "The tourists came out in volumes, and we've had a great season."

The resort was up 19 percent in room nights and up 25 percent in revenue year over year for the holidays.

And that impact could be due to the timing of the holidays.

Because Christmas and New Year's both fell on a Tuesday, people took extra days off and extended their stay.

"So this was a perfect storm this year," said Hughson. "And that had a positive impact and we will see that when the numbers come out in February."

Hughson says over the holiday period, businesses in our area saw between 4 and 15 percent increases in their sales.

She says it's a healthy indicator we're looking at a good, solid 2013.

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