ASHLAND, Ore. — As summer wraps us, the Ashland business community is celebrating another successful tourism summer.
The Ashland Chamber of Commerce says June and July were the strongest months across the board from restaurants to lodging to retail. It says the business community even exceeding pre-pandemic numbers.
“We’re fortunate overall to have a positive summer, we know our visitor is really evolving, and changing the visitor profile is skewing younger, they are doing a multitude of things when they come here,” said Katharine Cato with Travel Ashland.
Cato says august saw a dip in visitors for some, in part from smoke and wildfires in the area.
“August did fair flat for some and September and October are looking very strong, so we were fortunate to have more sunny clear days than we anticipated,” said Cato.
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival has long provided a huge economic boost to Ashland. But late last week it announced the decision to pull back on the number of shows it will have in the 2023 season. Theater customers just aren’t reaching pre-pandemic levels, in Ashland, or on Broadway.
“We’re reducing the number of productions we’re producing in 2023 and at the same time revising the performance schedule a bit to be more in line with where we’re seeing audiences and revising the footprint of the season,” said David Schmitz, OSF Executive Director.
Tree House Books is sad to hear the news about OSF. It’s been serving the community since 1978. But the children’s book store is still hopeful for the business community.
“I think we’ve become a destination town and valley and so we hope that we can partner with OSF in many ways so even if they can’t do their regular theater then maybe we can think of other projects to work on,” said Tree House Books co-owner, Jane Almquist.
The chamber says it respects OSF’s difficult business decision. In the meantime, it’ll continue to promote everything Ashland has to offer
“Educating even that OSF playgoer who is coming next season about all the other things they can do while they are here, that’s the constant work of inspiring and informing visitors to learn more about the different elements they can do,” said Cato.
The chamber says it anticipates another busy September and October.