Southern Oregon :

Lake County Rural Tourism Studio

At the request of stakeholders in Lake County, a remote, sparsely-populated area of our region that had been underserved by the tourism industry in the past, TSO invested in Travel Oregon’s Rural Tourism Studio Experience to bring destination development teams from Travel Oregon into Lake County.

A group of 11 people, standing around a wooden sign which displays the word 'Lakeview'

Goals

Create shared sense of Lake County’s tourism assets; identify already functioning teams and optimize their resources; identify under-supported assets and establish action teams that would move forward developing collateral and stakeholder engagement as needed; welcome Lake County into the regional and state ecosystem of tourism communities.

A man driving a horse-driven wagon in a horse-riding arena. Behind him is a sign that displays the words 'Lake Country Fair Round-Up'

Outcome

Establishment of enduring relationships between Travel Oregon, Travel Southern Oregon and local stakeholders in Lake County; successful delivery of the Rural Tourism Studio Experience at Warner Canyon Ski Area in winter of 2018 with more than 45 attendees from across the county, including many public lands agencies.

Results

Three incredibly robust and active action teams continue work every day in Lake County: the Geological Features group produce a brochure on local geological features to enhance the visitor experience in very remote locations; the Trails Group has worked with the town of Lakeview to create signage from downtown up to the Oregon Timber Trail, staking Lakeview’s claim to being “The Start of the Oregon Timber Trail”; the Western Heritage team has worked extensively with the town of Lakeview to amplify the uniquely Western history and experience of Lake County through signage in town.

Moving Forward

Rural communities need direct engagement with regional tourism initiatives, and direct investment to help build capacity. Stakeholder relationships are the key to successful long-term engagement with these communities.

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