Tulsa Regional Chamber

Tulsa Airport

After seeing steep drops in traffic in March and April, Tulsa International Airport officials are starting to see a rebound.

According to Transportation Security Administration figures, passenger numbers at Tulsa International were down 53% in March and almost 96% in April from the same months the year before.

Tulsa Airports CEO Alexis Higgins said during a Tulsa Regional Chamber business event more people came through the security checkpoint on Friday than they’d seen since mid-March.

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.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) said Wednesday that he is not yet convinced that Americans need more federal aid to deal with the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. 

In a Zoom videoconference organized by the Tulsa Regional Chamber, Inhofe said a package being put forward by House Democrats this week is too costly, too ideological, and too premature.

"Nancy Pelosi came dancing in and decided that she wanted to have a fourth round," Inhofe said. "So far we've spent $3 trillion, and she thought it would be fair to spend $3 trillion more."

In a webinar hosted by the Tulsa Regional Chamber on Monday, U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) said he fears that the amount of money paid out to Americans as federal unemployment benefits under new coronavirus legislation may be overly generous and bad economic policy.

"That's been the challenge of unemployment during this time period," Lankford said. "That we have a disincentive to get back to work." 

Nearly two dozen business, nonprofit and health leaders will help plan the reopening of Tulsa’s economy after the COVID-19 threat begins to decline.

The Mayor's Economic Recovery Advisory Committee in partnership with the Tulsa Regional Chamber will look at steps other cities and states are taking to come up with a phased approach for Tulsa.

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.

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Citing projected revenue loss due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Tulsa Regional Chamber said it was forced to lay off 15 employees, about one-fifth of its workforce.

"We’re very sad," said Mike Neal, the Chamber's president. "We hated to have to do this, but the Chamber is over 120 years old and we had to stay in business. We have to run our organization as a business."

On this edition of ST, a conversation with Jaime Casap, the so-called "Education Evangelist" at Google. Casap will be the keynote speaker at the Tulsa Regional Chamber's annual State of Education gathering, happening tomorrow (Wednesday the 6th) at the Renaissance Tulsa Hotel and Convention Center on South 107th East Avenue.

On this edition of ST Medical Monday, we speak with Susan Harris, a longtime economic-development advocate and public-education expert here in Tulsa. Harris recently retired from the Tulsa Regional Chamber, where she served as the Senior Vice-President of Education and Workforce Development. Harris is also an active caregiver; she has personally assisted a few different elderly relatives who were admitted to nursing homes in our community, and she continues to help certain family members in this way.