Tourism has $6.1 Billion Economic Impact on Oklahoma

Tourism spending in Oklahoma hit a new high in 2008, accounting for more than $6 billion in economic impact, according to a recent study.

The results, released at the 2009 Governor’s Conference on Tourism, also showed Tulsa County received more than $1.5 billion of the $6.1 billion spent in domestic tourism in 2008. The conference is being held in Tulsa.

The 2008 results show an increase of 6.5 percent in spending and a 2.3 percent increase in travel-generated employment from the last year.

“Tourism is one of Oklahoma’s largest industries – positively impacting towns large and small throughout our state,” said Hardy Watkins, executive director of the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department.  "From generating tax revenue to employing more than 76,000 Oklahomans, the travel and tourism industry is a driving economic force for our state."

Other highlights from the study include:

– Oklahoma’s tourism industry generated 76,200 jobs in 2008.
– Without those tourism-related jobs, Oklahoma’s 2008 unemployment rate of 3.8 would have been 4.4 points higher, or 8.2 percent of the labor force.
– On average, every $80,480 spent in Oklahoma by domestic travelers generated one job in 2008.
– Seventeen counties received more than $50 million in domestic travel expenditures in 2008.
– Six counties indicated 1,000 or more jobs directly supported by domestic travel.
The economic impact study was conducted by the research department of the U.S. Travel Association (formerly the Travel Industry Association) and provides preliminary 2008 estimates of domestic traveler spending, employment, payroll income and state and local tax revenue directly generated through tourism in Oklahoma.

The full report is available here.