Travel / Tourism

Matt Trotter / KWGS

A commission recommends moving about one-third of the city’s concrete planters dotting Route 66 to east Tulsa in an effort to better identify the historic highway there.

Of the 48 planters purchased with funds from a 2003 sales tax package, 46 remain, and the Tulsa Route 66 Commission wants 16 of them placed on Mingo Road at 11th Street, where there’s an interpretive plaza and recreation area.

The head of online city guide Root Tulsa says since its self-guided historic tour of the Greenwood District has proven popular, more is in the works.

Executive Director Matt Carney told city councilors more than 4,400 people have taken the tour since it launched in late May by scanning QR codes at points of interest or visiting

Department of Tourism

Tulsa Regional Tourism has been approved for $75,000 in virus relief funding from the American Rescue Plan for a media buy to promote the area to travelers.

Tulsa County commissioners approved the expenditure last week. It will go toward an episode of CBS Travel Editor Peter Greenberg’s "Travel Detective" show, which airs on PBS and select streaming platforms, along with related assets Tulsa Regional Tourism can use later.

Twitter / Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell

The state of Oklahoma and an industry group have partnered to launch a campaign meant to inspire Oklahomans and visitors to explore the state's craft breweries.

The Oklahoma Craft Beer Trail is a project of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry's agritourism program and the Craft Brewers Association of Oklahoma. 

30,000 printed maps of craft breweries with taprooms will be distributed at Oklahoma welcome centers to promote them, according to a news release from ODAFF. 

Tulsa Airport

More direct flights are coming to Tulsa.

American Airlines will start nonstop service to Washington, D.C., on Nov. 2 and to Miami on Nov. 6.

American had flown a weekly Tulsa-Miami route in the past.

The new routes come after American announced new, nonstop service to Phoenix in summer 2020 and Austin last month. Tulsa Airports Improvement Trust Director of Air Service and Marketing Andrew Pierini said traffic is back to 90% of pre-pandemic levels, and Tulsans will need to make the new flights successful before officials can talk about landing new destinations.


A new outdoor attraction in eastern Oklahoma announced last year remains under construction.

The WOKA Whitewater Park will sit east of Watts, Oklahoma, at the Arkansas state line near Siloam Springs. It's a partnership between the Grand River Dam Authority, the city of Siloam Springs and the Walton Family Foundation. Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas and Gov. Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma have touted the park as an economic driver.

The process to start collecting a 3% assessment on certain hotels across the city is before the Tulsa City Council.

Councilors approved a resolution Wednesday telling the city to file an assessment roll for the Tourism Improvement District and set a July 21 public hearing on the matter. The assessment applies to hotels with 110 rooms or more, and funds will go toward marketing efforts that should help them attract business.

On this edition of ST, we're talking about food, glorious food -- and in particular, American food. What does the phrase "American cuisine" actually refer to? And what do we mean when we say that a certain dish has been "Americanized"? Is there a national menu that we all share in this vast nation? And what will food in the USA be like in the future?

In the first two decades of the 21st century, New York City has experienced a terrorist attack, a blackout, a hurricane, an historic recession, widespread social injustice, and, of course, the current pandemic. How has all of this affected the lives of New Yorkers? Our guest is the bestselling author Craig Taylor, whose new book draws on years of interviews with hundreds of NYC residents in order to render an indelible group portrait of the city. As per Publishers Weekly: "[This is] an engrossing, multihued 'oral portrait' of New York City as told by the people who live there....

(Note: This interview first aired last summer.) Our guest is Colin Dickey, a writer perhaps best known for his popular nonfiction book from years ago, "Ghostland." Dickey is a regular contributor to The LA Review of Books and Lapham's Quarterly; he also co-edited "The Morbid Anatomy Anthology." An active cultural historian and associate professor of creative writing at National University, he joins us to discuss his latest book.

Updated Feb. 22, 9:10 a.m.  

A City of Tulsa entity focused on boosting downtown is carefully watching a state Senate bill out of concern it may undermine its work.

The Downtown Coordinating Council has an eye on Senate Bill 489, which would let certified historic hotels opt out of an improvement district — areas created by local governments where an assessment can be levied on businesses to pay for marketing services, improvements not related to streets and other benefits.

Local tourism officials are banking on the recently awarded 2022 PGA Championship having a big impact on Tulsa’s economy.

Using data from four past championships, a computer model calculated a total economic impact for the 2022 event of $143 million, including $80 million in visitor spending and a $4.6 million increase in tax revenues, along with the equivalent of about 1,100 jobs.

Ahead of Thanksgiving, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended postponing holiday travel to avoid catching COVID-19, and that advice stands.

The same day the CDC made that announcement in mid-November, the state of Oklahoma launched a new tourism ad campaign featuring Gov. Kevin Stitt in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Texas, and on digital platforms.

Visit McCurtain County

Entrance fees introduced at 22 Oklahoma state parks in June have displeased some lawmakers.

They were the subject of an interim study this week, and representatives of impoverished districts complained their constituents are being shut out of their main source of entertainment.

Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Executive Director Jerry Winchester said the fees are necessary to keep the park system from falling into total disrepair. Winchester said the agency needs $40 million a year to maintain $1 billion in assets, but they’ve been spending $10 million.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

A two-year, $55 million renovation of the Cox Business Convention Center is complete.

The 56-year-old convention center got an overhaul inside and out.

"This is 2020, and this is what 2020 looks like," said Cox Communications Vice President Roger Ramseyer.

The facility has a new eastern entrance and lobby, and its 8,900-seat arena has been replaced with a 41,000-square foot banquet hall.

Tulsa Regional Tourism Board member Bob McGrew hopes that lures more events to Tulsa. He said events’ total economic impact in Tulsa is $1.3 billion since 2014.

Our guest is Colin Dickey, a writer perhaps best known for his popular nonfiction book from a years ago, "Ghostland." Dickey is a regular contributor to The LA Review of Books and Lapham's Quarterly; he also co-edited The Morbid Anatomy Anthology.

Updated July 15, 10:05 a.m.: References to the Tulsa Regional Chamber were changed to Tulsa Regional Tourism. A Tulsa Regional Tourism spokesperson clarified while the organization is an arm of the chamber, it is pursuing the initiatives and supporting a mask requirement independently of the chamber.

Tulsa Regional Tourism has an initiative in the works to get tourists back to the area.

City of Tulsa

The Tulsa Route 66 Commission showed interest Tuesday in a proposal to revitalize west Tulsa’s Howard Park by opening an RV park there.

Tulsa County Deputy Treasurer John Fothergill made the pitch for putting out a request for proposals to build an RV park with up to 70 spaces. Fothergill said a set of Vision-funded limestone monoliths installed at Howard Park in 2017 hasn’t done enough to boost tourism.

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.

Our guest is Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, whose new book is a primer on world history -- specifically, world history as it's understood in our current global era. As the COVID-19 pandemic has made all too clear, we live in an age when things happening thousands of miles away can directly (and drastically) affect our own lives. As Haass explains on StudioTulsa, he wrote this book in order to help readers of all backgrounds make sense of this complicated, interconnected, crisis-laden world.

Tony Webster on Flickr, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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.

Our guest on ST is Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell, who joins us to discuss the new brand for the State of Oklahoma: "Imagine That." Pinnell led the lengthy, multifaceted process that came up with this recently-announced brand, which will soon start appearing on t-shirts, stickers, roadside signs, posters at airports, newly-designed license plates, and so on. He describes this brand-development process, and the thinking and planning that went into it, while also explaining what he believes this new brand will accomplish for our state.

Episode 10: Dr. Andrew Grant Wood

Jun 24, 2019

Our guest for this installment of Found@TU is Dr. Andrew Grant Wood, the Stanley Rutland Professor of American History here at The University of Tulsa. He discusses his research on Mexican society and culture, talking in particular about his current project on colonial Veracruz; the joys and challenges of archival research; myths about immigration; and how history can teach us to challenge taken-for-granted assumptions. We also discuss the dark side of the tourism industry, including the exploitation of people and damage to the environment.

Episode 7: Dr. Mike Troilo

Mar 21, 2019

Our guest is Dr. Mike Troilo, the Wellspring Associate Professor of International Business here at TU. He tells us how learning Korean -- which he began while taking karate lessons as a kid -- eventually led him to do graduate work in business administration and East Asian studies, which in turn led to his learning Mandarin Chinese. Dr. Troilo also describes his ongoing research into the policies as well as practices that can best foster entrepreneurship in a variety of nations, including China.

Photo by Bernie Guzik

Our guest is the locally based musician and photographer, Bernie Guzik. As a tuba player, the Ohio-born Guzik, who attended Julliard, has peformed with the New York Philharmonic, the American Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Kansas City Philharmonic, the Tulsa Philharmonic, the Tulsa Symphony, and so forth. Now retired from music, he devotes more and more time to his other longtime passion: photography. Guzik tells us about this passion, which has led him to travel all over the world, documenting vanishing cultures with his camera.

Gilcrease Museum

Our guest is Susan Neal, the executive director of Gilcrease Museum here in Tulsa. It was recently announced that Gilcrease is now gathering applications from architectural firms seeking to execute the renovation, redesign, and expansion of the museum.

Our guest on ST is the locally based photographer and writer, Rhys Martin, who joins us to discuss his new book: "Lost Restaurants of Tulsa." The book is just out, and it reveals the histories of dozens of restaurants from T-Town's past -- family sagas, culinary wonders, beloved diners, edge-of-town favorites, popular hang-outs, and more. It's a book that's sure to appeal to those who can lip-smackingly recall the likes of Pennington's, Shotgun Sam's, Villa Venice, The Golden Drumstick, The Razor Clam, St. Michael's Alley, The Louisiane, et al.

(Note: This interview originally aired back in August.) Our guest is the award-winning British author and journalist William Atkins, whose latest book -- a dense and engrossing blend of history, memoir, geography, and travel writing -- is called "The Immeasurable World: Journeys in Desert Places." It's a work that, per The Wall Street Journal, "courts comparisons with the capaciously learned nature writing of John McPhee. But there's also an open-ended spiritual quest to Mr.

Our guest is the award-winning British author and journalist William Atkins, whose new book -- a dense and engrossing blend of history, memoir, geography, and travel writing -- is called "The Immeasurable World: Journeys in Desert Places." It's a work that, per The Wall Street Journal, "courts comparisons with the capaciously learned nature writing of John McPhee. But there's also an open-ended spiritual quest to Mr.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we talk about the ongoing effort to make Route 66 a part of the U.S. National Park Serivce's National Historic Trail System. If this were to happen, Route 66 would become the 20th such trail in America, joining The Lewis and Clark Trail, The Oregon Trail, and others. This designation could mean a serious economic boost to our state, as Oklahoma has more Route 66 mileage than any other state through which the highway runs. We have two guests today.