By Chris Day
STILLWATER, Okla. —
The ads for tourism start popping up on Oklahoma television stations in late winter or early spring.
It’s all beautiful scenery and people enjoying themselves as tourism officials try to entice viewers to make their state a travel destination.
On a slightly smaller scale, the Stillwater Convention and Visitors Bureau promotes Stillwater as a travel destination. The city agency promotes Stillwater as a destination for Red Dirt music, football championships and a variety of other events.
Earlier this week, Stillwater Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Cristy Morrison visited the NewsPress’ “Conversations with ...” studios for a webisode of the newspaper’s public affairs program. Conversations with ... is available on our website, www.stwnewspress.com, click on the multimedia tab, or our YouTube channel, youtube.com/stwnewspress.
Morrison discussed new projects and how the Convention and Visitors Bureau is funded. Here are excerpts from the “Conversations with ...” interview.
What is new at the Convention and Visitors Bureau?
“I think you could ask me that everyday and there’s always going to be something new. That’s what keeps us inspired with the Convention and Visitors Bureau world and really, more appropriately, to say a destination marketing organization. That’s basically what we do. It can change every single day. It really depends on how creative a community and a staff wants to be in marketing their destination to visitors in from out of town. ... We are looking really strongly at developing some Red Dirt Music events to continue to have those throughout the year. We are working hard to getting more youth athletic events to our community. That’s great exposure for Oklahoma State. It’s great for the economy of Stillwater. We are looking at some other publications and markets that we need to dive into a little bit more that, I think, Stillwater has a pretty good draw. We can partner with some folks like the business improvement district and a local publication ... that is based out of Stillwater but markets to motorcycle enthusiasts. I’ll give you a little insider information, kind of like a wheels campaign, so everything from motorcycles to motorcross and street bikes to dirt bikes and automobiles, anything that has a wheel that has different events. That actually encompasses recreation and special events and all kinds of different enthusiasts just love coming to Stillwater. We need a reason to bring them and continue to get them back.”
How is the Convention and Visitors Bureau funded?
“... Our (sales) tax right now is 8.75 percent if you go spend money at a restaurant. ... If you stay at a hotel room, there is an additional 4 percent. That 4 percent is 100 percent of our funding. The thing that is kind of beautiful about our funding source is we, basically, generate the very funding that promotes what it is we do. The more visitors we bring into town the more revenue we have to advertise, promote and market Stillwater.”