With Visitors Staying Home, Tulsa Tourism Economy Lags

Apr 10, 2020

According to Ray Hoyt of the Tulsa Regional Chamber, more than 9 million visitors came to Tulsa in 2018, spending over a billion dollars.

"Our job," Hoyt said on a Thursday conference call to the Chamber's members, "is to get those visitors back."

With the city's "Safer at Home" order shuttering restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues, and the national economy stalled, Tulsa's tourism economy is on pause.

Hotels are at occupancy rates under 10%, Hoyt said, and the city's economy has already lost $19 million during the outbreak, with $29 million more lost in cancellations or postponements of future events, like the Breeder's Invitational equestrian show and the Lexus Tulsa Cup soccer tournament.

Still, Hoyt said there are reasons to be optimistic for Tulsa's post-pandemic rebound.

"The economy will heal itself with leadership," he said. "I think a lot of smart people are talking about how do we mitigate these challenges so that we can come back to some sort of normal, whatever normal looks like in the future."