Kimberly Hicks,
Leadership Program Director
Class #2 - Tourism

Tourism in Southern Oregon apparently holds undiscovered treasures, even for leaders in our community.  The Medford/Jackson County Chamber Leadership class spent the a full day touring numerous tourism highlights last week and participants were happily surprised by all the opportunities for fun and adventure, right here in our own back yard. 
We started the day at the Medford Visitor Center, talking to the Travel Medford staff.  The question of the day seemed to center around the summer smoke and how it impacted not only our quality of life, but tourism and business in general.  When we headed out to Ashland on Allaboard Trolley, we traded stories about how much we know about tourism.  Turns out, even for those of us that have lived here our entire lives, there are many stories to tell and experiences to enjoy.  Touring the Oregon Shakespeare Festival was a new experience for most of us.  We were shocked to discover the amount of behind the scenes work that goes into each production as well as the complexity of each theater, constructed so entire set changes can happen in as little as seven seconds!  The teams of individuals that provide support is massive, compared to the number of actors that perform.  One of the most shocking fact we learned is that each actor will perform in two productions (each that may have multiple character parts) but then they must also understudy for two additional performances, each with multiple characters and choreography.  That is an intensive schedule that when combined with the backstage crew, results in world-renowned performances and a Shakespeare Festival that is attended by people from around the world.  Watching a performance and taking a full back-stage tour should be on all of our lists for next summer.  After touring the Ashland Springs Hotel and hearing about all the ways the Neuman Hotel Group gives back to our communities while providing large-group gathering spaces throughout the Valley, we were off to Dancin Vinyards in Jacksonville.  Dan Marca, one of the Dancin owners, is a proficient storyteller and each taste of wine came with background, science and a bit of philosophy.  We enjoyed a fabulous fall afternoon learning about the very diverse wine industry in Southern Oregon and how we can find opportunities in all challenges, including smoke. Touring the Britt Festival and gardens gave many of us a “Britt perspective” we’d not previously seen.  This festival, along with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, seemed to be the hardest hit by the months of smoke this summer.  Hearing about the cancelation of shows and the financial impact was difficult, especially knowing the narrow profit margin these organizations work within.  Our last stop was to visit a relatively new but exciting endeavor, Southern Oregon Express.  Transportation to some of Southern Oregon and Northern California’s most popular tourist destinations is now available and includes lunch for an extremely reasonable price! Tourism in Southern Oregon is alive and well and just waiting for even us locals to discover!

Article by Teri Smith, M.Ed., Dean of Health and Public Service _____________________________________________________________________________________

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kimberly Hicks, Leadership Program Director 541-621-5466kimberly@medfordchamber.com
Visiting website here.
October 16th, 2018
Article by Terri Smith
Class of 2018-2019
The Chamber of Medford/Jackson County
101 E. 8th St.  |  Medford, OR 97501
Phone: (541) 779-4847