Director takes reins at Explore Sisters
Last updated 1/18/2023 at Noon
The first executive director of Explore Sisters, Scott Humpert, told The Nugget that the primary goal for the new destination management organization (DMO) is to sustain Sisters’ quality of livability by managing tourism to insure they attract “the right person at the right time in the right place.”
Rather than simply promoting general tourism through broad marketing, the DMO’s messaging will work to attract certain kinds of tourist who value the small-town atmosphere and surrounding nature that local citizens prize. The philosophy is that it’s not the quantity of tourists but rather the quality of tourists that will have a higher economic impact on the economy while maintaining the livability and sustainability for permanent residents.
Humpert and his Explore Sisters board of directors focus on promoting local sustainability and livability. “It’s what we believe in,” Humpert said. “We want the community’s input as we organize. We will be taking surveys to assist us in developing our business plan and strategic plan.”
The DMO will also be engaging with the students in the University of Oregon Sustainable Cities program in designing their business plan as well as developing a brand which Humpert said will be crucial to future marketing. Engaging in outreach to the community and gathering input from stakeholders will take some time, but Humpert believes it is the right way to go about establishing Explore Sisters on a firm foundation.
Being a lifelong Oregonian, Humpert says he “gets it,” and looks forward to “starting with a blank slate and building from the ground up.”
Humpert, his wife, Rachel, and their three school-aged children moved from Lincoln City and have purchased a home in Sisters. His wife is working for the Oregon State University Extension Master Gardener program. Their children are in the local second, sixth, and eighth grades. They have visited Sisters numerous times over the years and are pleased to now call it home.
Humpert grew up in Salem, visiting Sunriver as a child with his family, and was admittedly one of the “cone lickers” visiting Sisters. He graduated from the University of Oregon before working in Salem. Beginning in 2012, he moved to Lincoln City as the public relations coordinator. When the department director retired in 2014, he was made the interim director and then named the marketing manager. He likened trying to make changes to an already existing program like “working on a car while it’s running.”
Travel Oregon is the state tourist organization with regional offices throughout the state. Humpert served on the Oregon Coast Visitors Association board for eight years, the last as its chair. Over that time, their budget grew from $300,000 a year to $2 million, starting with a staff of one and growing to seven employees.
The founding board of Explore Sisters includes Greg Willitts of FivePine Lodge & Conference Center, chair; Crista Munro of Sisters Folk Festival, vice chair; Jesse Durham of Sisters Coffee, secretary; Casey Meudt of Blazin Saddles, treasurer; Michael Preedin, mayor, City Council representative; Nancy Connolly, memberat-large; and Kerry Prosser, City of Sisters liaison.
The board has been working behind the scenes getting the DMO organized over the past year. They meet the first Thursday of the month at 2 p.m. in their Main Avenue headquarters at 219 E. Main Ave. Attendance is by invitation.