GRANTS PASS – Jon Bowen of Experience Grants Pass, the city’s contractor for Tourism and Downtown Development was recently awarded by the Oregon Economic Development Association for Exceptional Economic Development Marketing and Promotions for his work on the city’s Live Rogue branding initiative. Bowen received the award at a ceremony in Salem Oct. 29.
“We’re honored to take this time each year to recognize impactful work being done in the field of economic development across Oregon,” said Kate Porche, president of OEDA.
OEDA is the state’s foremost trade association for state, regional and local economic development professionals, representing more than 146 economic development entities and more than 400 professionals across Oregon.
Award recipients were selected through a competitive process involving a range of criteria including innovation, project/individual impact, contribution to the economic development profession, and leadership.
“Jon Bowen’s passion to highlight the City of Grants Pass in a positive direction has been an ongoing endeavor of discipline and accomplishment. He works diligently to find new ways to showcase the quality of place here in Grants Pass,” said Susan Seereiter, business advocate for the city’s Economic Development Department.
“It’s an honor to be recognized by our peers from around the State for our marketing of Grants Pass. All of us in the City work hard in providing a great experience to both our residents and visitors,” said Bowen. “Getting this recognition reaffirms that we’re on the right track and others recognize our efforts,” he said.
Bowen’s nomination for the award included input from Seereiter’s counterparts in Washington and Northern California, as well as a letter of recommendation from Brad Niva of Travel Southern Oregon. The Live Rogue branding has made an impact in surrounding regions, and helped drive growing tourism numbers in Grants Pass, said Seereiter.
“For a city, the Live Rogue Campaign is bold and not traditional in any respect. For that reason, it wasn’t easily accepted by all. The City Council had a goal of standing out in a crowded field of destinations in Oregon. Grants Pass is unique and authentic, so we were determined to set ourselves apart and pique people’s interests,” said Bowen.
In 2018, tourism accounted for more than $1.5 million in tax revenue for the City of Grants Pass. Compared to revenue totals of less than $1.1 million dollars in 2013, tourism tax revenue to the city has increased by nearly $100,000 each year over the past five years at an average growth rate of 8.2 percent.
“Since the adoption of the Live Rogue branding strategies, we have received very favorable reactions and acceptance of our branding strategy from both the industry and the public,” Bowen said.
Local hotel revenues continue to climb to record levels, highlighted by a 15.6 percent increase in the second quarter of this year. Room demand in Grants Pass is twice as strong as numbers across the state, and room revenue is as much as six times higher than the Southern Oregon average.
“It is particularly nice to receive this recognition from OEDA because it affirms our strategy in marketing the City as a great place to live, work and play,” said Bowen.