A short time ago Claremore's tourism industry came to a screeching halt.
Normally, spring would be one of the busiest times of the year—full of rodeos, sporting events, graduations, reunions, weddings, and events the region looks forward to all year long.
"No one wants to put a dollar amount on the devastation of COVID-19, but as the director of Visit Claremore and the Claremore Expo Center, I can give you an estimate of what it has meant to our hospitality and tourism partners in Claremore and in Rogers County. Tourism leaders across the state and the nation, work together to formulate positive impact from visitor spending. It is adjusted every year as inflation, or prices going down, and is adjusted to reflect our area. Visitors coming to Claremore spend less, on average, than they would if they were in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, or another large metropolitan; so we adjust it to give us a truer dollar amount spent,” said Tanya Andrews.
On March 16 the city issued an emergency order which prohibited the gathering of more than 10 people. With most of their events drawing more than 1,000 people, this meant all Claremore Expo events were cancelled.
"In 7.5 weeks of losing these events the community lost more than $1.895 million in visitor spending. These dollars are spent in our restaurants, our shops, museums, gas stations/convenient stores, hotels and RV Parks. Our businesses have adjusted hours, closed dining rooms and entered the “curbside” amenity; they have done what they could continue doing business. Our residents, relatives and friends have lost jobs, employers lost loyal and trusted employees and at times lost hope," said Andrews.
She added, "Now more than ever our friends, family and community needs us. Our city and county governments need us. Our hospitality and tourism partners, retailers and attractions need us. We need to be tourists in our town. Try something new, maybe a new restaurant; or visit one of our world class museums and buy something from the gift shop, even a trinket; it will mean the world to them."
Andrews added, "It may take a while before our tourists come back so in the meantime we are working on some great ideas on how we can each “Be a Tourist in Claremore”. More information will be coming soon but you can always go to www.visitclaremore.org or www.claremore.org for any information you might be seeking."