By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle
Garfield County was ranked eighth out of 77 counties in Oklahoma for tourism dollars spent in the county last year.
A biannual study released by Oklahoma Department of Tourism showed travelers in Garfield County spent more than $105 million during their stays.
The study, titled “The Economic Impact of Travelers on Oklahoma Counties 2011-2012,” shows travelers spent $105.15 million dollars in Garfield County in 2012. That is a 29 percent increase from the study done in 2010, when Garfield County spending totaled $81.26 million, placing it ninth among Oklahoma counties.
Travel is defined in the study as activities associated with all overnight and day trips to places 50 miles away or more, one way, from the traveler’s origin, and any overnight trips away from home in paid accommodations.
Marcy Jarrett, director of Visit Enid, said the latest economic impact numbers confirm Enid’s commitment to giving visitors more reasons to come to Enid.
“Great facilities and events combined with great community support make for a powerful combination. Enid continues to invest in itself with facilities, attractions and events at a time when people in this region have more income available for leisure travel,” Jarrett said. “Because of this commitment, our visitors are staying longer and spending more money in our community.”
The top 10 Oklahoma counties by expenditure levels were Oklahoma, Tulsa, Cleveland (Norman), Comanche (Lawton), Washington (Bartlesville), Beckham (Elk City), Carter (Ardmore), Garfield (Enid), Canadian (El Reno) and Payne (Stillwater).
The study shows domestic travelers spent $7.2 billion on transportation, lodging, food, entertainment and recreation, and retail shopping during their Oklahoma trips in 2012. That represents an increase of 6.1 percent over 2011.
Oklahoma saw across-the-board increases in expenditures, payroll income, employment and tax receipts. Visitors spent 6.1 percent more in 2012 compared to 2011, as tourism-related expenditures topped $7.1 billion, the report stated.
Payroll income in the state’s tourism sectors including lodging, food service, recreation and retail saw a 2.2 percent increase over 2011, while employment in those sectors rose from 76,600 in 2011 to 78,200 in 2012.
Oklahoma’s tax receipts rose 4 percent from a little more than $1 billion in 2011 to $1.1 billion in 2012. Oklahoma counties collected $188 million in local taxes in 2012, up 7 percent over 2011.