The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

October 3, 2013

Enid stakeholders should ‘dream big’ to draw visitors

Three decades ago, Enid adopted the slogan “Stride with Pride” to promote our community’s business prospects.

That was a long time ago. What does Enid need for the 21st century?

A tourism consultant recently told Visit Enid Advisory Board one thing our city lacks is a major leisure attraction.

Berkeley Young said Enid must target travelers between the ages of 30 and 50. The national travel industry expert has advised our city on previous travel and tourism issues.

We should continue to improve on our city’s “gateways,” the areas visitors see as they come into Enid along U.S. 81 and U.S. 412.

“You definitely need to focus on arteries,” he said. “It’s like good teeth and bad teeth. You’ve got a few good teeth, and in the middle of every block, there’s something that’s just hideous and it kills it.”

Since first impressions are crucial, Young said we need to upgrade the front-line encounters visitors have. That would include an effort by retail store owners to improve customer service skills of their employees.

Even as retails sales remain strong in Enid, our work isn’t over yet. Although Enid’s on the right track, we must strive to improve our community and not rest on our laurels.

We should get input from stakeholders and “dream big” about an alluring attraction to draw visitors from the major metros in the region. Let’s revise the discussion on what’s reasonable and how to do it.



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