BEND, ORE.—Leave-No-Trace practices. Sustainable tourism. A focus on community. For two years, Visit Bend has been weaving these values into everything from television campaigns to social media posts, and on Friday, April 5, the Board of Directors voted to make them an official part of the organization’s mission.
“Seven years ago, Visit Bend’s strategies centered around bringing as many visitors as possible to Bend to help pull the city out of the recession,” explained Visit Bend CEO Kevney Dugan. “We heard from the community that we did that job well, but it’s time for a new approach.”
Starting in 2017, Visit Bend launched a series of sustainable initiatives including Visit Like a Local and The Bend Pledge aimed at urging people to interact responsibly with the community and surrounding wilderness. Working with community partners, Visit Bend introduced the Ride Bend Shuttle and helped bring more public bike stations through Zagster to alleviate summer traffic. The organization also put a moratorium on summer media visits and devoted 95 percent of its budget toward marketing the off-season instead of busy summer months.
But the adoption of the new mission is the first official, board-approved shift toward a whole new organizational focus for Visit Bend.
“As part of the new vision, we are striving to ensure the work we’re doing helps preserve a community we are proud of and continue to enjoy as residents,” Dugan added. “Our team is made up of Bend locals passionate about recreating and raising families here, and we’re committed to respecting our wild places so our kids and grandkids can enjoy them. Adopting this new focus is one way of telling our neighbors we hear you. We’re in this together.”
Contracted by the City of Bend
Visit Bend is a not-for-profit marketing organization contracted by the City of Bend to promote travel to Bend. The organization’s efforts channel visitor dollars toward the City’s general fund, which helps fund services like police and fire.
The new approach to Bend tourism is one Visit Bend’s board of directors considered carefully in the months leading up to the decision.
“We’re proud of how Visit Bend has responded to community input and the changing landscape of Bend’s economy,” explained Board Chair Noelle Fredland, who is also the Marketing Director for the Old Mill District and the Les Schwab Amphitheater. “They’re striking a balance between locals frustrated by busy restaurants and an awareness that those restaurants wouldn’t thrive without tourists. There’s a delicate give and take, and the fact that Visit Bend is pivoting to put sustainability and community at the forefront is the right direction for our future.”
Volunteer Events Planned
In the coming months, locals can expect to see a continuation of initiatives aimed at conservation, visitor education, and sustainability. Visit Bend will also continue working closely with land managers and conservation groups devoted to protecting wild places, and team members will be on the ground volunteering for projects like trail restoration and community cleanup efforts.
“We’ve listened to the community, and we’ve paid attention to where our own hearts have led us,” Dugan added. “As we move into this new era of Visit Bend, we want to encourage community members to join us in even the smallest gestures like picking up litter while hiking or not geotagging vulnerable wild places on social media. Every little effort makes a difference.”
Community members are also invited to attend Visit Bend’s public board meetings every other month, or to reach out with feedback or questions. CEO Kevney Dugan can be reached at email@example.com or call (541) 382-8048.
The new mission and vision statements can be read in their entirety at this link: www.visitbend.com/mission.