Southwest Oklahoma tourism touted


By Mary O. Esparza - mesparza@civitasmedia.com



Brian Bush, Altus Chamber of Commerce president and Economic Development Corporation director, shows off the Great Plains Country Association tourism brochure that highlights Southwest Oklahoma, along with Brooke Miller, executive director of Great Plains Country Association.


Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department research

Tourism is Oklahoma’s third largest industry

$8.9 billion total direct travel spending

$367 direct travel spending average per visitor

20.9 million visitors to Oklahoma

Taxes generated by visitor spending — local $261 million, state $366 million

Return on investment for tourism spending

7:1 total; 4:1 at state level, 3:1 at local level

The Altus Chamber of Commerce recently held a Southwest Oklahoma’s Great Plains Country Association Tourism workshop providing the community an opportunity to learn ways to market their business.

The workshop was presented by Brooke Miller, who became executive director of Great Plains Country Association in March and has more than 10 years of professional experience to include public relations and marketing, budgeting, program development and sales. A lifelong resident of Southwest Oklahoma, she grew up in Snyder and graduated from Cameron University and currently resides in Duncan.

“Southwest Oklahoma’s Great Plains Country (Association) is a nonprofit-based organization that promotes tourism in the 14 counties of Southwest Oklahoma,” Miller said. “It is staffed with one full-time employee, governed by a board of directors and prints and distributes 80,000 of the official Southwest Oklahoma travel guides annually.

According to Miller, the guide includes Jefferson, Stephens, Cotton, Comanche, Caddo, Tillman, Kiowa, Washita, Jackson, Harmon, Greer, Beckham and Roger Mills counties.

The Great Plains Country Association is membership-based group that markets tourism within Southwest Oklahoma and joins forces with the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department and 10 other lake and country associations to increase the economic impact of tourism in Oklahoma.

Membership benefits include event listings in the travel guide and website, cooperative marketing projects — many with discounted prices, direct links to the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department, website links, social media and networking opportunities and marketing assistance.

Membership levels include individual, community and civic, bronze, silver, gold, platinum and basic. Custom packages are also available. Great Plains Country Association representatives attend travel and trade shows, and participate in road shows.

Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department research in 2015 concluded that tourism is Oklahoma’s third largest industry. State and local taxes generated by visitors spending, by 15 percent increase in travel-related state tax revenues. An average spending per visitor was $367. Jobs created or sustained by travel spending showed 10.4 percent.

“Tourism marketing impacts the state’s national image, enhancing Oklahoma’s ability to attract business investment,” Miller said.

“One very important part of my job is getting the word out about area events and finding a cost efficient way of doing that,” said Altus Chamber President and Economic Development Corporation Director Brian Bush. “That’s what I love about partnering with the Great Plains Country (Association), because for a very small amount of money it exposes you to reach thousands and thousands of people. Some are traveling through our state and pick up guides at a travel center or maybe a hotel, not to mention the many travel shows Great Plains attends.”

To learn more about the Great Plains Country Association or to become a member visit the Chamber of Commerce or www.greatplainscountry.com.

Brian Bush, Altus Chamber of Commerce president and Economic Development Corporation director, shows off the Great Plains Country Association tourism brochure that highlights Southwest Oklahoma, along with Brooke Miller, executive director of Great Plains Country Association.
http://altustimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_DSC_0684-CMYK-2.jpgBrian Bush, Altus Chamber of Commerce president and Economic Development Corporation director, shows off the Great Plains Country Association tourism brochure that highlights Southwest Oklahoma, along with Brooke Miller, executive director of Great Plains Country Association.

By Mary O. Esparza

mesparza@civitasmedia.com

Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department research

Tourism is Oklahoma’s third largest industry

$8.9 billion total direct travel spending

$367 direct travel spending average per visitor

20.9 million visitors to Oklahoma

Taxes generated by visitor spending — local $261 million, state $366 million

Return on investment for tourism spending

7:1 total; 4:1 at state level, 3:1 at local level

Reach Mary O. Esparza at 580-482-1221, ext. 2077.

Reach Mary O. Esparza at 580-482-1221, ext. 2077.

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