Tulsa's tourist industry is hoping a major event recently booked for Expo Square in July could be the start of the economy's revivial.
The week-long National Junior Angus Show will bring thousands of visitors and $2.5 million to Tulsa, according to Ray Hoyt, president of Tulsa Regional Tourism.
"We're excited about the whole opportunity to kickstart the tourism aspect of what's going on in the community," Hoyt said.
In consultation with the Tulsa Health Department, Hoyt said hospitality and tourism industry leaders have been working hard to plan for a safe way forward for new events.
"At some point we knew we had to have an event," Hoyt said. "At some point things had to be at some sort of normal where you can start hosting again."
Large events, Hoyt said, "are going to help those industries and those businesses recover, like restaurants, like bars."
Hoyt said he expects it to be safe for nightlife establishments and hotels to be operating in time for the return of conferences, events, and expositions beginning in July.
The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the local economy, Hoyt said.
"It's probably north of $200 million, if not closer to $250 million, in lost economic impact," Hoyt said. "Some of that we'll get back because they've been postponed, but those cancelations? We'll never get that revenue back, that economic impact. It's gone. It's lost."
The National Junior Angus Show was originally set to take place in Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania, but the state's stringent public health guidelines forced the event to find a new host city and state. Hoyt said Tulsa and the organization are already in talks to host further events after July's show.