Top 10 reasons to be a member of Columbia Gorge Tourism Alliance (CGTA):
- Because ‘tourism’ can be a dirty word. Columbia Gorge Tourism Alliance (CGTA) is a Gorge-wide network focused on celebrating this world class destination and protecting it from overuse by creating projects that spread visitors to shoulder seasons and to locations & experiences that are off-the-well-worn path. Spreading out the congestion and sharing the economic love.
- Fewer flip flops or fireworks. ReadySetGorge.com is a visitor-facing website to help educate people who are new to the region (or to the outdoors) on the preparation and safety in the natural areas. The goal is to decrease the need for trail rescues. CGTA now coordinates with Gorge land managers to keep the most accurate and updated source for site closures and openings.
- Collaboration is an antidote to COVID. During the pandemic, the CGTA helped to create a shared messaging framework for the Gorge that unified the two states and 8 different counties. This allowed the Gorge to speak with one voice despite the different phases, levels or political differences. These meetings continue through the recovery to address shared issues as they arise such as trash.
- No one owns tourism – no single organization or person can protect or control alone. This is why we are a network made up of a wide variety of different organizations from government agencies to chambers to businesses and non-profits.
- We are used as an international example of sustainable tourism
- Quarantining didn’t stop us from coordinating. In fact, we purposely chose to lean in and do more. Our local guides met regularly to share information and to launch gorgeguided.com, a resource for visitors as well as a base for sharing referrals. And our art galleries and museums met to revive the Columbia Gorge Arts & Culture Alliance and to create the gorgeculture.org website. CGTA also helped with the continued financial sponsorship and promotion of the Gorge Museums Pass that allows purchasers to attend 9 different Gorge museums with proceeds shared evenly among museums.
- We throw great parties. Our Annual Gorge Tourism Summit and various network events support Gorge tourism businesses and organizations with opportunities to connect, updates on regional efforts, tourism data, education on issues that affect the Gorge, and structured ways to develop projects by action area (Culture, Transportation, Outdoor Rec, Agritourism, Spread the Love & Welcomability).
- We are combating congestion with our support of the Gorge Pass and the new coordinated regional transit system. As well as our continued management of columbiagorgecarfree.com which includes itineraries and updated information on regional transportation options and highlights of each town.
- We are helping to support our amazing local food system. In addition to continuing to strengthen the eastgorgefoodtrail.com (now in its third year) we were also able to create a food trail on the West end of the Gorge to guide visitors to agritourism experiences including breweries, native fisheries, upicks, wineries and farm-to-table restaurants.
- Gorge hospitality businesses were the hardest hit and needs the most help. Over the past year we focused on small business resiliency by helping them to boost online presence with programs like Lewis & Clark Geotourism and Google My Business.
Because we are looking for ways to push beyond our current capacity to do even more. We are five years into our 15 Year Vision and have the clarity, momentum and right people to get things done. More partners mean more resources to take on new projects such as Welcomability and a unified parking & permitting system.
A strong active network is the best defense against overtourism and a powerful tool for creating a positive future.
Please help us continue to support the promotion and protection of the region.