We Are the Rogue: Forum Panel brought to you by Travel Medford
Keynote Speakers: Bob Hackett- Brand Chair, Rogue Valley Vintners, Brian Sjothun- City Manager, City of Medford, Christian Nelson- President, Downtown Medford Association, Ashley Cates- Creative Director, Travel Medford
Presentation Title:  We Are the Rogue
Medford-Jackson County Chamber of Commerce
101 E. 8th St.Medford, OR 97501
Phone: (541) 779-4847
Rebecca Scott, copywriter and owner of RJS Writing Service. She creates blogs, articles, website, and social media content. With a background in writing, marketing, digital advertising and social media, her passion is writing content that jumps off the page.
Meet Me at the Forum!
Next month's Forum is sponsored by Jackson County.
To register for the event on June 10th, click here.

For the full list of the 2018-2019 Forum dates, check out The Chamber website.

A big thank you to this season's sponsor, The Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians.
A group of panelists spoke at the May Forum about the impact of travel and tourism, and why “Travel Matters,” which is the theme of 2019’s National Travel and Tourism Week.
The presentation started on a celebratory note. Mayor Gary Wheeler presented the Mayor’s Award to the Rogue Valley Timbers, who made the Rogue Memorial Challenge a successful event with great economic impact. Kevin Primerano accepted the award on their behalf. Eli Matthews, Senior Vice President of Travel Medford, moderated the panel and began by asking each speaker about their organization’s mission and objectives. According to Ashley Cates, Creative Director for Travel Medford, their mission is to “put heads in beds,” as well as promote and preserve the region. This year, she said Travel Medford focused on rebranding and discovering the “who” and “where” of Medford.
Revisiting the topic of sports tourism, Brian Sjothun, City Manager for the City of Medford, touched on the success of the U.S. Cellular Community Park, which surpassed $100 million in economic impact in its first 10 years. “Looking ahead, the city and council members are exploring the possibility of mixed use and aquatic facilities,” he explained. On a more local level, the Downtown Medford Association (DMA) has been laser-focused on creating vitality in downtown Medford. DMA is a new group and just formalized, said Christian Nelson, president of the organization. He explained their initial objectives are beautifying downtown and partnering with local events such as Pear Blossom, Art In Bloom and Dancing and Dining in the Streets. With 65 wineries and 200 vineyards in the region, Bob Hackett, Brand Chair of Rogue Valley Vintners, explained how the Rogue Valley is a huge part of Oregon’s wine industry. “But we had no formal marketing organization,” he noted. After an industry meeting in February 2018, the Rogue Valley Vintners was formed. Having received a $50,000 matching grant from Travel Oregon, he said they are creating a cohesive brand and promoting Rogue Valley wines. Branding and messaging is not only important for the travel and tourism industry, but the entire community. Sjothun said the city is moving away from a “silo” mindset and fostering more partnerships as Medford grows. Nelson agreed. “We need to form partnerships so we can create a positive, cohesive experience of Medford,” he said. For Travel Medford, Cates said it’s imperative to leverage Oregon’s brand. Audience members nodded in agreement as she explained many visitors don’t know where Medford is located. “We need to bring visitors through the location funnel so they know where Medford is and that we’re the heart of the Rogue,” she said. Matthews ended the discussion by asking each panelist to give one key takeaway or action for the audience. “Wear your sunglasses!” exclaimed Cates, referring to the Travel Medford-branded, wooden sunglasses at each place setting. By wearing regional swag, she said locals will show pride for their community. Several forum attendees donned their sunglasses before the end of the presentation. Hackett wants to see every local winery participate in the Rogue Valley Vintners, because “we have the opportunity to carve out a new, distinct niche in the Oregon wine brand.” He also encouraged everyone to take visiting family and friends to a local winery. Sjothun said everyone must be involved in some way for the community to succeed. He hopes that everyone finds time to help the city as it implements their future plans and visions. Nelson wants the community to invest in downtown Medford, regardless of the size of the contribution. “Eat at a downtown restaurant or shop in local stores. Everything we do has a huge impact on our community,” he said.
May: National Tourism Month
The Chamber of Medford/Jackson County
101 E. 8th St.  |  Medford, OR 97501
Phone: (541) 779-4847

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