Travel / Tourism

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.

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.

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.

The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, which is part of the National Park Service, will soon host a three-day symposium here in Tulsa regarding the preservation of roadside architecture and attractions. It happens April 10th through the 12th, and it will include 20+ invited as well as solicited papers, an evening neon-sign tour, and a half-day field session exploring local roadside attractions and issues related to their preservation.

Our guest today is Ken Busby, the CEO and executive director of the non-profit Route 66 Alliance, which is based here in Tulsa, and which is, per its website, "dedicated to the preservation, promotion, and enhancement of historic Route 66 -- past, present, and future." Formerly the director of the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa, Busby was asked to lead the "Mother Road"-focused organization in 2014; today, he brings us up to speed on the Route 66 Experience Museum, a large-scale development for which funds are still being raised and plans

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we are talking about Tulsa Global Alliance, which is, per its website, is "a non-profit volunteer organization that connects people, companies, families, organizations, and students from Tulsa and Oklahoma with the rest of the world." Our guests are Tom Hemphill, the President and CEO of TGA, and Ken Busby, a former head of the TGA Governing Board.

(Note: This interview originally aired last summer.) Our guest is the author and former journalist Rinker Buck, whose book, "Flight of Passage," was praised by The New Yorker as "a funny, cocky gem." Buck's latest book, which he talks with us about, is "The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey." In this bestselling work, the author and his brother travel the original trail -- over some 2,000 miles -- from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Baker City, Oregon. It's a journey made by mule-pulled wagon, no less -- like the pioneers did, a century ago -- and it lasts four months.

Late one night in 2011, a large animal collided with an SUV on a Connecticut parkway. This animal was not a deer -- as is, sadly, so often the case. It was a 140-pound mountain lion...and it had been born in the Black Hills of South Dakota...in 2009!

On this edition of ST, we get to know Doug Levitt, an American singer-songwriter...and former London-based foreign correspondent (who once upon a time reported for, among others, ABC and NBC). About a decade ago -- or about 100,000 miles ago -- Levitt started riding Greyhound buses all across this nation in order to gather stories, songs, pictures, and memories of those who travel by bus in America.

(Note: This interview originally aired back in April.) "Don't just do something," goes an old saying that's sometimes attributed to the Buddha, "sit there." On this installment of ST, we speak with the acclaimed travel writer and essayist Pico Iyer, whose newest book is called "The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere." It may seem odd to find one of contemporary literature's best travel writers composing a book-lenth essay about not traveling, but Iyer begs to differ.

Our guest is the author and former journalist Rinker Buck, whose book, "Flight of Passage," was praised by The New Yorker as "a funny, cocky gem." Buck's new book, which he talks with us about, is "The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey." In this bestselling work, the author and his brother travel the original trail -- over some two-thousand miles -- from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Baker City, Oregon. It's a journey made by mule-pulled wagon, no less -- like the pioneers did, a century ago -- and it lasts four months.

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