OKLAHOMA CITY —
The welcome mat is often the first greeting of a home. It usually reflects the owners’ personalities or another personal characteristic. As you step up to the door, you know if the homeowner likes to sail, hunt, fish, where they like to vacation, derivatives of their surname, etc…The welcome mat says so much while working effortlessly lying there.
Tourism is the welcome mat of most, if not all, states. The great state of Oklahoma is no different. The landscape, topography, people, hospitality, food and recreation all in part reflect the characteristics of our history and heritage. Oklahoma boasts an abundance of successful industries: energy, agriculture, bioscience, and aerospace, just to name a few. Interestingly, the third highest grossing revenue industry is tourism.
Tourism consists of many shapes and sizes public and private: parks, lodging, restaurants, agri-tourism, recreation, genealogy, sports, and much more. As Lieutenant Governor in my monthly columns, radio and television, I have encouraged our state to use tourism at every opportunity. As families we should attempt to have at least one “staycation” a year in state. During holidays, family reunions and other family celebrations we should plan events around a local festival or event or invite your family to a unique in-state venue. As professionals we should encourage our businesses and associations to have their annual picnics, meetings and conferences right here in Oklahoma. Monica and I want our children to love Oklahoma as much we do. We have always taken family “staycations”. Professionally, I am honored to be hosting the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA) in Oklahoma this July. (I’ll write more on that next month).
Tourism is a tool that provides a positive glimpse of Oklahoma. As a state, we must continue to use it to our advantage. Oklahoma has so many natural assets that distinguish us from other states.