Another new tourism promotion group, the Travel Southern Oregon Coast (TSOC), has debuted to encourage people to visit the area.

Representatives of Coos County and Bandon Dunes Golf Course formed the group after voters rejected a 10 percent lodging tax ballot question in Coos County. TSOC, which made a presentation at last week’s Oregon South Coast Regional Tourism Network, has an operating budget of about $400,000 a year, said Brookings City Manager Gary Miliman, who attended the local tourism conference last month.

The Tourism Network itself is an outgrowth of the Tourism Studios project in Curry and Coos County that strives to coordinate tourism-related activities on the South Coast of Oregon.

That group is:

•Developing a regional “food trail” — the Wild Rivers Coast Food Trail — which began three years ago as a tour whereby people visit farms and buy locally-grown products. That concept has expanded to restaurants and other venues that feature locally-grown food and other projects. The organizers will hold a workshop in April to provide information about their activities. The rebranded effort will be known as the Wild Rivers Coast Food Trail.

•Hosting the Whiskey Run June 8 and 9 in Bandon. Organized by the Wild Rivers Coast Mountain Bike Association, three skill levels will be featured in the race. Event organizers have hired a social media “influencer” to follow the event, post highlights on social media, make a video and promote recreational activity on the South Coast. A similar event is being planned for Boardman State Park in October.

•Several fat tire events, designed for people who ride bikes with tires so fat they make mountain bike tires look slim, are being planned. One, the Banana Belt Ride, is slated for Pistol River in August.

•A new Wild Rivers Coast Outdoor recreation map is being developed.

•Hikers associated with the Oregon Coast Visitors Association (OCVA) have been cataloging improvements needed on the Oregon Coast Trail. Improvements would include better signage and repairing washouts.

•OCVA has also developed a video of “Winter on the South Coast” featuring fishing, golf, waterfront activities, mountain biking and paddle boarding.

•OCVA is also developing 300 images depicting visitor attractions on the South Coast that will be available to destination marketing organizations for use in promoting visitation.

Other tourism activities in the region include:

•The North Bend Chamber of Commerce, in cooperation with the Workforce Investment Board, has developed a new online program for employees of small businesses to learn about what there is to do in their areas.

According to Brookings City Manager Gary Milliman, who attended the local tourism meeting, employees at gas stations, restaurants and hotels are often asked, “What is there to do around here?”

“Research has shown that the answer is often ‘nothing,’” he said. “The goal is to help small businesses educate their employees on how to interact with visitors for the benefit of the community.”

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