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Australia gets new insights into the great State of Oregon

October 16, 2014 Destination North America, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Australians have an affinity with Oregon, the state on America’s west Coast between California to the south and Washington to the north.

Australia is in the top five countries in international visitation to Oregon. It held number two position a couple of years ago though the order fluctuates. A visiting team in Sydney this week explained the state’s wide appeal: numerous natural attractions, excellent wine and beer, friendly people, an offbeat, alternative atmosphere and the “weird” city of Portland, Oregon’s largest city.

Oregon crew

The Oregon team on a 15-day mission to Australia includes Marcus Hibdon, Travel Portland’s communications and PR manager in charge of domestic and emerging markets; Lisa Itel, Travel Oregon’s manager global sales, based in Portland; and Corey Marshall (in distinctive red top hat), travel Oregon’s account director, who resides in Auckland.

The Oregon mission encompasses key east coast Australian cities including Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Newcastle, where the team is meeting travel trade and media to share the latest destination highlights before heading to New Zealand. The first big function was held at the Dove and Olive, an inner-city Surry Hills establishment known for its craft beer  – a perfect alignment to Oregon, which is home to four of the largest microbreweries in the US.

A newcomer to mission Oregon at the Dove and Olive was Steph Stricklen, well-known Oregon TV news anchor and KGW-TV reporter. As well as filming around Sydney, Stricklen had personal reasons for visiting – her mother is from the Sydney suburb of Strathfield.

Keep Portland Weird

Portland is known for its food and drink scene. It’s a strong contender for the title of America’s craft beer capital, as well as a centre for coffee culture. The city is home to the original Stumptown Coffee Roasters and dozens of other micro-roasteries and cafés.

An unusual feature of Portland’s entertainment scene is the large number of cinemas serving beer, often with second-run or revival films. A notable example of these “brew and view” theatres is The Bagdad Theater and Pub. It originally opened in 1927 and was the site of the premiere gala of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in 1975, and of My Own Private Idaho in 1991.

Incidentally, Oregon’s Heathman Hotel, known for the role it played in Fifty Shades of Grey, is the star of a new themed VIP travel package aptly named Fifty Shades of Oregon.

Steph Stricklen from Oregon

Portland has a highly memorable unofficial slogan: “Keep Portland Weird!” Bumper stickers proclaiming “Keep Portland Weird!” are commonplace and the phrase has been painted on walls. The “weirdness” is the city’s distinctive, hip, artisan nature, which differentiates it from other US cities. Visitors love the weirdness and Portland is proud of it.

The cities of Portland and Bend in Oregon have more breweries per capita than anywhere else in the US. Portland has 51 microbreweries. Wine, especially pinot noir and pinot gris, is superb. Craft distilling has also taken off, with 10 distilleries within the city limits.

An outstanding Oregon beer at the Dove and Olive was Dead Guy Ale (see below), a German-style Maibock from Rogue Ales, created in the early 1990s to celebrate the Mayan Day of the Dead.

'Make mine a Dead Guy.' Oregon's famous Dead Guy beer

A record number of 1,122,180 Australians visited the US in 2013, an increase of 8.1%, year-on-year, over the 2011 total. This makes Australia one of the top five nations to provide visitors to the US. About 12% of arrivals are business-related and close to 88% are visiting for leisure.

Oregon is best experienced from the handlebars of a bike. It has more scenic byways and tour routes than any other state in the US, so is perfect for cycling. As well as epic cycling, the state is known for golfing and the great outdoors.

Some activities link wine or beer to the outdoors – the ideal combo. Falling Sky Brewing, a brewpub in Eugene, Oregon, will loan customers a bike for up to 24 hours, free. The offer includes lock, lights and helmet. The only thing Falling Sky will ask, is that users spread the word and tag a pic of their bike with @fallingskybrew on social media.

Falling Sky hopes this will lead to many other businesses following suit and the trend spreading throughout America. How cool is that?

Written by : Peter Needham

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