VISIT STILLWATER: Why travel matters to Oklahoma | News

Destination Capitol Hill is the U.S. Travel industry’s premier legislative fly-in.

In the past, the event has brought travel leaders from across the country together to educate policymakers about the power of travel. The program combines a legislative day on Capitol Hill with advocacy training, guest speakers and peer-to-peer networking. The annual event provides delegates with an opportunity to learn about upcoming legislation that impacts travel, network with peers, and meet with members of Congress to stress the importance of travel as an economic driver. 

Hundreds of travel colleagues advocated together virtually to provide relief for travel industry businesses, advance stimulus measures to drive travel demand, position the U.S. to welcome back international travel, and safely restore business travel, meetings, and events.

This year the U.S. Travel Association provided us newly-released state and district-level economic impact data to illustrate how COVID-19 has harmed our once-thriving industry.

In Oklahoma, as our attractions, hotels, restaurants, and more were unable to welcome visitors, the travel and tourism industry was no longer the significant economic driver it has been in the past.

In 2019, travel and tourism in Oklahoma generated $9.2 billion in spending, $2.5 billion in payroll, 82,762 jobs, ranked sixth in employment rankings, and contributed $1.3 billion in tax receipts. 

In 2020, spending by domestic and international travelers declined by 34%, and due to the decline in spending, federal, state, and local tax receipts declined by 27%, jeopardizing jobs and public programs, which are needed more than ever as we work toward recovery.

Five delegates representing the Oklahoma Travel Industry Association, Visit Oklahoma City, Chickasaw Nation, Oklahoma Multi-Counties Associations, and Visit Stillwater met with representatives from each of Oklahoma’s seven members of Congress. The message was primarily specific asks for future relief and the stimulus measures that will safely restart travel which will refuel our economy, rebuild our workforce and reconnect American’s.

The U.S. Travel Association is the leading force that grows and sustains travel and protects the freedom to travel. Their efforts are focused on achieving a shared vision for the industry that travel is understood as essential to the economy, American jobs, security, image, and well-being of the United States and travelers. For more information on travel and tourism issues and research, go to

For the most current and up-to-date information regarding the Stillwater hospitality industry, “Like” Visit Stillwater on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @VisitStillwater. You may even win one of our online contests throughout the year.

Cristy Morrison, President and CEO, represents Visit Stillwater, 2617 W. 6th Avenue, Stillwater, OK  74074. She can be reached at or by calling 405-743-3697.

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