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How will automation transform the tourism industry? 🎧 [with podcast] 

Todd Montgomery, OSU-Cascades professor of hospitality, discusses tech advancements in the travel and leisure sector, and brings an international perspective to the debate about a post-COVID economic recovery

For this week’s “Bend Don’t Break” podcast, we talk with Todd Montgomery, a business and hospitality professor at Oregon State University – Cascades. His research focuses on automation and technology in the tourism industry from both the perspective of workers and customers. He’s the co-host and co-producer of “Tech Trek,” a TV show highlighting innovative automation technology from around the world. He also serves on the board of Visit Bend.

Montgomery has written most recently about how Bend businesses, including those focused on tourism, may overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. He believes Bend is poised for a strong economic recovery in the hospitality sector because the area offers so many opportunities for outdoor recreation. These activities are safer than visiting indoor tourism attractions, epidemiologists have said.

Montgomery also studies the workforce in the tourism industry, an aspect that is often overlooked as research tends to focus on tourism’s potential to lead to tertiary economic growth. Jobs in this sector provide some income for people in transition like college students who can work seasonally or directly after they graduate. Montgomery argues that it also provides work opportunities for people who otherwise might be denied access to the labor market.

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“If you look at who tourism benefits and what jobs are produced—we’ve got some challenges with living wage and things like that—but we’re also an industry that is incredibly diverse that serves and employs people on the fringes. This gives people a foot in the door and a chance to succeed and put food on the table,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery has also spent many years in Asia helping tourism communities recover from natural disasters. We’ll discuss this and more during this week’s “Bend Don’t Break” podcast hosted by Source Weekly Publisher Aaron Switzer.

WATCH: Full interview with Todd Montgomery:

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