Vancouver, WA Tourism: Demographics
A robust demographic profile of tourists visiting Vancouver, Washington could not be provided given the lack of information on the subject. Recently published sources only suggest that a significant fraction of tourists visiting Vancouver come from nearby Portland, and that the city also attracts visitors from other parts of the region. Old sources indicate that visitors to Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, one of the top attractions in the city, were mostly traveling with family, young, female, employed, well-educated, and from the Vancouver-Portland metropolitan area.
FINDINGS FROM NEW SOURCES
- The new Vancouver Waterfront, one of the attractions in Vancouver, Washington, is attracting a diverse group of people. Travel writers note that, at the new attraction, they are seeing kids having fun in the sand, cyclists taking a breather, and business people staying for happy hour. They are also seeing young families, retired locals, couples having dinner dates, and athletic dog owners.
- According to Erica Thompson, Visit Vancouver USA's communications manager, the new Vancouver Waterfront is not only capturing the attention of visitors and locals alike but is also attracting meeting planners, regional travelers, and "neighbors south of the river in Portland."
- In 2018, there were 1,108,907 people who visited Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, one of the attractions in Vancouver, Washington. Of these visitors, 22,103 were local students going on educational trips.
- According to Tracy Fortmann, superintendent at Fort Vancouver, the number of Vancouver and Portland locals visiting Fort Vancouver and using the site as a casual gathering spot has grown over the years. Fort Vancouver is an urban national park that is only 15 minutes away from the Portland International Airport.
- Fortmann says Fort Vancouver, being one of the most well-known forts in the region and country, "brings in people from not just the community that [is] enjoying it, but the region, nationally and internationally."
- Vancouver, Washington is the top hub for hipsters in the United States, according to moving service provider MoveHub. It took the top spot because of its wide selection of thrift stores, vegan restaurants, tattoo parlors, and microbreweries.
- For inter-state tourism, the State of Washington targets Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, and Texas. For inter-country tourism, it targets the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, China, and Germany. These targets were selected because studies show that people in these locations more or less behave the same way as people in the State of Washington. People in these locations are likely to be interested in the tourism assets of the state.
FINDINGS FROM OLD SOURCES
- Of visitors to the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in 1986, 25% were no older than 12 years old, 20% were 30 to 39 years old, and 13% were at least 60 years old.
- In that year, 46% of visitors were male, while 54% were female.
- When it came to these visitors' employment status, more than 50% were employed, around 20% were homemakers, 9% were retired, 4% were students, and 2% were unemployed.
- The majority of visitors traveled with family and were first-time visitors.
- The majority of visitors were well-educated.
- The majority of visitors came from the Vancouver-Portland metropolitan area.
- The Columbia River Waterfront Renaissance Trail is one of the attractions in Vancouver, Washington. Of its users in 2010, 40% were male, while 60% were female. Most users were white and aged 40-69.
We employed various strategies in determining the demographic profile of tourists visiting Vancouver, Washington. Since Visit Vancouver USA is the destination marketing organization (DMO) responsible for promoting the city as an attractive travel destination, we started our research by scouring the organization's website and annual report for information about visitors or tourists, and by reviewing press coverage of the destination, the organization, and the organization's marketing campaigns. Articles published by Vancouver Business Journal and Visit Vancouver USA were among the sources we consulted. As the city's DMO, Visit Vancouver USA must have a strong understanding of who visits the city, and it may have shared some details about visitor demographics with news outlets. This initial strategy, however, yielded very limited information, and we only learned the types of people that the new Vancouver Waterfront is attracting. There was some information about the organization's new marketing campaign "Yeah, that Vancouver," but the information does not offer any insight into the target market or the demographic profile of visitors. To find additional information, we changed tactics and looked at the demographics of tourists visiting the top attractions in Vancouver, Washington. It was identified in a related request that the top attractions in the city are Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, Esther Short Park, Waterfront Renaissance Trail, Vancouver Farmers Market, Officer's Row, Pearson Field and Pearson Air Museum, Vancouver Lake Park, George C. Marshall House, Ulysses S. Grant House, Vancouver Land Bridge, Frenchmans Bar Regional Park, and Vancouver Waterfront, so we checked if the demographic profile of visitors to any of these attractions is readily available in the public domain. The National Park Service publishes visitor studies for some of its parks, but unfortunately, no recent study was published for Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, and the last visitor study was published way back in 1986. This old visitor study provides the demographic profile of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site visitors that year. Most of the relevant information we found with this strategy was about Fort Vancouver National Historic Site visitors. We were unable to find the demographic profile of visitors to the other top attractions. It appears Fort Vancouver National Historic Site is the city's top draw, as it attracts over a million visitors per year, so the lack of information on the other attractions' visitors may have something to do with this. Additional information about Fort Vancouver National Historic Site was gathered from the site's annual report and from articles published by The Oregonian and Oregon Public Broadcasting. Columbia River Renaissance Trail, another attraction in Vancouver, is not among the aforementioned top attractions, but the demographic profile of its users in 2010 is publicly available. Since the amount of information we were able to gather was limited, we tried researching the demographic profile of visitors to the broader Clark County and Washington. This led us to Washington's state tourism marketing plan, which provides some demographic details. As suggested, we also examined the web traffic of Visit Vancouver USA and the aforementioned top attractions using SimilarWeb. This last strategy proved ineffective because most of the attractions do not have their own websites, and those that have their own websites do not have enough web traffic for SimilarWeb to analyze. As can be seen in the attached Google document, Visit Vancouver USA, Vancouver Farmers Market, Clark County Historical Museum, George C. Marshall House, Ulysses S. Grant House, and Vancouver Waterfront have their own websites, but they do not have sufficient web traffic for SimilarWeb to analyze.