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ORLA teaches local businesses how to improve tourism revenue

Tim Caswell of Oregon Restaurants and Lodging Association (ORLA) was the special guest at the Lake County Chamber of Commerce Business Mixer recently in April, providing great insight into how to improve tourism to the region.

Caswell is the Regional representative for Central and Southern Oregon of ORLA, providing detailed information about ORLA’s resources available to local business owners throughout Lake, Klamath, Deschutes, Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, Deschutes, Jefferson and Crook counties.

Invited to the Lakeview area by Chamber of Commerce Dir. Tule Chiono, Caswell provided information detailing the various ways ORLA can assist business owners and improve tourism to the area.

ORLA, a non-profit organization with a statewide staff of 20, protects the interests of entrepreneurs in the lodging and restaurant industry through providing resources and support in local political issues. They educate business owners on health care resources, lobbyist services, food handlers education and food safety, group-buying programs, tourism promotion and working with state government to establish a self-sustaining tourism agency, Travel Oregon.

Successful recent campaigns that Caswell and ORLA have achieved include passing legislation against online travel companies. Among these are Expedia and Travelocity, which collect full tourism taxes but purchase rooms for a lower cost only paying taxes on the portion the company paid below regular rates. This results in cumulative unpaid tourism taxes worth millions of dollars that would otherwise be dedicated towards Travel Oregon and local tourism operations.

Caswell, a veteran of the restaurant industry, lives and works in southern Oregon, one of only two ORLA regional reps outside of the Willamette Valley.

For more information on ORLA, visit www.oregonrla.org and traveloregon.com

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