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Is there such a thing as too much tourism in Seaside?

From the director’s chair: Destination management

By Joshua Heineman

For Seaside Signal

Published on August 9, 2018 11:46AM

Last changed on August 16, 2018 9:37AM

The ongoing shift from destination marketing to destination management is one of the most exciting and most promising developments in tourism.

I am an outsider to this industry — at least for now. I got my start in journalism, then moved into communications for higher education, then onto marketing and brand management for the creative and technology boom happening coast to coast. Now here I am.

I’ve begun to consider my diversified background an asset of sorts in this industry because many of the challenges my colleagues and I are facing at the moment fall outside the traditional realm of marketing anyway.

Seaside’s messaging does a good job of reaching those in the driving market (Oregon, Washington, Idaho) through a variety of print, digital, and radio advertisements. We’ve seen year-over-year growth in overnight visitors, web views, and social media interest. Things are undeniably going well on the awareness front.

But consider the traffic that backs up just a little quicker and further back each season. Consider the feast or famine of seasonal visitors. In addition to building a visitor base for the North Coast, how are we working to address the livability of Seaside and the sustainability of tourism here.

Seaside is partnering with Travel Oregon and communities up and down the coast from Astoria to Pacific City on a North Coast Tourism Studio this fall. We’ll offer a series of workshops from September through January to empower local stakeholders, bolster sustainable tourism, address critical management issues, and preserve and enhance our natural and cultural assets.

In other words, we’ll be workshopping destination management issues. But this is not a series for tourism professionals alone. We need community members, public officials, tour operators, lodging owners, recreation enthusiasts, conservation groups, and absolutely anyone with an interest in strengthening the Seaside economy through sustainable tourism.

Residents suffer the same downsides from overtourism as visitors do. The difference, of course, is that you aren’t on vacation and you aren’t passing through. This is your home.

Please join us on Sept. 25 for our opening North Coast Tourism Summit at the Old Mill Event Center in Garibaldi. There will be an overview of the tourism industry, important trends, and best practices for sustainable tourism to get us all thinking how we might apply those ideas to Seaside. The summit is free, but RSVPs are required.

Also, there will be two events in the series held in Seaside at Best Western Oceanview. We’ll be conducting a Destination Stewardship Think Tank the evening of Oct. 16 and a very important Visitor Transportation for High-Use Destinations workshop during the day on Oct. 17.

For the complete series schedule, more information about each offering, and registration links for everything, please visit

Full-day workshops are $10 to cover lunch, but all evening networking events are free. Those who attend at least four of the workshops will receive a certificate of completion from Travel Oregon.

As a newcomer in this industry, you know I’m after that certificate myself. I’ll see you there.


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