Want to become a leader in the tourism industry here but not sure how to go about it? The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association may be able to help.

The association is launching its second year of the Oregon Tourism Leadership Academy. The academy is developed in partnership with the Oregon Destination Association and Travel Oregon, and led by tourism industry professionals. The annual program is targeted to public and private sector tourism professionals who are seeking to polish their leadership and professional skills, grow their career accomplishments and make positive and lasting contributions to the state’s tourism economy.

“Our vision is to bring together tourism professionals from all walks of life to strengthen the interconnectivity within the industry, while elevating new leaders who will help move our state forward,” Jason Brandt, President & CEO of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association, said in a news release. “The academy will continue to bring lasting personal and professional benefits to those who participate.”

Tourism professionals currently participating in the first-year class continue to follow all health and safety guidelines as they approach program conclusion in September, the news release said. The second-year class will launch in July and conclude in the Spring of 2022.

Curriculum, field visits, and hands-on experiences are designed to support and align with the state’s tourism goals and objectives, which include four strategic imperatives:

  • Optimizing the statewide economic impact of tourism in Oregon.
  • Supporting and empowering Oregon’s tourism industry.
  • Championing the value of tourism.
  • Running effective tourism oriented organizations and businesses.

The Oregon Tourism Leadership Academy experience is designed for professionals currently serving Oregon’s tourism and hospitality industries. Those interested in participating should have supervisory, managerial, or executive responsibilities in either the private or public sector. Industry professionals who will soon be responsible for similar levels of responsibility are also encouraged to apply for the academy program, the news release said.

The strategic imperatives outlined above will serve as the program’s core themes each year. Each theme will receive focus as a part of four multi-day learning programs designed to provide academy participants with comprehensive educational experiences. Each year, about 20 individuals participate in the academy’s professional development curriculum alongside industry experts and facilitators.

The academy involves four multi-day experiences taking place during all four seasons of the year. Program participation costs $2,500 and the association estimates an additional $1,600 should be budgeted for transportation/lodging stays for the eight overnight stays incorporated in the program schedule, association director of communications Lori Little said.

The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association is the primary business association for the food service and lodging industry in Oregon, which before COVID-19 provided over 180,000 jobs throughout the state.

Scott Carroll can be reached at [email protected] or 541-957-4204. Or follow him on Twitter @scottcarroll15.