Bartlesville in the News
OKLAHOMA TOURISM & RECREATION DEPARTMENT RESEARCH SHOWS RECORD HIGH IN TAX REVENUE GENERATED BY VISITOR SPENDING
Posted: March 09, 2017
Visitor spending in Oklahoma due to travel and tourism generated a record high $986 million in federal, state and local tax revenues in 2015, according to new research completed by the Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department. State and local tax revenues from travel spending totaled $634 million, which equates to $415 for each Oklahoma household. Total direct travel spending by 21.8 million visitors to Oklahoma in 2015 amounted to $8.6 billion.
“While other industry sectors and state revenue sources have experienced volatility in recent years, the tourism industry has experienced steady growth, providing six straight years of increases in tax revenues, core visitor spending, jobs and employee earnings,” said Governor Mary Fallin. “As the third-largest industry in Oklahoma, travel and tourism serves as a great avenue for diversifying our state’s economy.”
The tourism industry continues to be a vital producer of employment in the state, supporting 98,300 jobs with a payroll of $2.1 billion in 2015. That’s an increase of 11,800 jobs and a $412 million increase in earnings since 2010.
“The tourism industry has been a strong job creator in Oklahoma, in both rural and urban areas of the state,” said Lt. Governor Todd Lamb, chair of the state Tourism Commission. “An increase in visitors means more money being spent across the state in local businesses — in hometown restaurants, stunning hotels and beautiful state parks that visitors seek out in our state.”
The Department is in its second year of a new annual research program. For the past two years, researchers have found that OTRD’s tourism marketing program produced a 7-to-1 return on investment for Oklahoma: For every $1 spent on tourism marketing by OTRD, $7 was returned to the state in the form of state and local tax revenues generated through increased visitor spending.
“According to OTRD research, visitor spending in Washington County produced 2.6 million dollars in local tax revenue,” said Maria Gus, executive director of the Bartlesville Convention & Visitors Bureau. “The data they provide is very important to the CVB and now we’re able to track much more specific information,” adds Gus. OTRD has enabled Oklahoma counties to track areas such as visitor spending, visitor trips to the area and the number of overnight visits.
Tourism marketing also has a proven impact on Oklahoma’s national image. It drives broad economic growth, enhancing the state’s ability to attract business investment by generating awareness and creating visitor demand.
According to Dick Dutton, the Director of the Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department, “OTRD has been extremely conscientious about how we use state taxpayers’ money. In addition to cost-saving measures implemented within the agency, we are pleased that our tourism advertising has been found to bring a 7-to-1 ROI in tax revenue and also positively impacts broader economic development as well.”
Dutton added, “Despite falling state revenues during the recent economic downturn, we are continuing to see growth in the tourism industry.”
In recent years, the Department has seen a significant reduction in tourism funding, with appropriations decreasing 46 percent since 2009 and funding specifically for tourism promotion reduced by $2.5 million. Given the research showing the tax revenue gained as a result of OTRD’s advertising, these cuts stand to cost the state and local governments $17.5 million in lost tax revenue each year.
The Department’s research was conducted by best-in-class research firms TNS Global Market Research, Dean Runyan Associates and Longwoods International.
To read the full research reports or download an easy-to-use infographic with highlights from the studies, visit TravelOK.com/Industry_Reports.
About the Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department
The Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department works to preserve, maintain and promote the state’s natural assets and cultural richness through tourism. The Department’s Travel Promotions division administers programs designed to build awareness of the state as a destination and educates on the economic importance of the Oklahoma travel and tourism industry. The staff also oversees the agency’s marketing and promotions efforts along with operating Tourism Information Centers located at major entry points around the state. To learn more about the Department, visit TravelOK.com.