Angie Onyewuchi, president of Travel Salem, shares numbers showing increasing tourism in the capital city. She addressed a crowd at the Kroc Center on Thursday, Nov. 21. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Did you know that Salem is MOPO?  Travel Salem lets visitors know that our region is the Most Oregon Part of Oregon (MOPO).  At their Nov. 21 Marketing Exchange Luncheon, Travel Salem CEO Angie Onyewuchi gave members a state of the industry.

Travel Salem promotes the Salem area & the Mid-Willamette Valley as a premier, year-round destination for conventions, events and leisure travelers. They get over 40,000 walk-ins to their State Street office per year.

The organization is staffed by enthusiastic advocates for Salem. Sarah Footh, Angela Miles and Melissa McGill cheerfully checked in guests to the Kroc center meeting.

The Kroc Center’s CEO Tony Frazier welcomed the group to their facility and chef, Gregg Peterson created an Italian-style luncheon.  Mike and Katrina Adams, locally famous for barbecue at Adam’s Rib  Smokehouse, enjoyed the opportunity to take a break from their busy lunchtime crowd.

Onyewuchi provided highlights of the last year.  That included:

An estimated 2.5 million visitors traveled to Salem area, generating 6.5 million overnight stays; increasing 2.7% this year.

$3.9 million in transient occupancy tax was collected in Salem.

For every $1 from the City of Salem, Travel Salem generated another $3.66 from other sources.

Convention, sport and event business increased 11% to $23,134,478 and generated 30,089 room nights.

Travel Salem assisted 295,976 visitors, distributed 140,000 visitors guides and answered 518 relocation inquiries.

She mentioned the special Wine Country license plates sales reached 45,412 generating $1.3 million in new resources.  Also encouraging are the ongoing discussions of air service returning to Salem.

To join or learn more about Travel Salem visit www.TravelSalem.org or call 503-581-4325.

Sarah Footh, Angela Miles and Melissa McGill staff the check-in table for a Travel Salem lunch at the Kroc Center on Thursday, Nov. 21. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Mike and Katrina Adams attend the lunch for an update on Travel Salem held at the Kroc Center on Thursday, Nov. 21. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Victoria Shinn of U.S. Bank addresses a lunch focused on an update on Travel Salem at the Kroc Center on Thursday, Nov. 21. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Gregg Peterson is the chef at the Kroc Center in Salem, which hosted a recent lunch for Travel Salem on Thursday, Nov. 21. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Mary Louise VanNatta is a Salem public relations professional writing a regular column for Salem Reporter. Tell her about your upcoming event at mlvg@prsalem.com or follow her on Facebook.