Boosting tourism is a goal shared by many towns in Oklahoma. Tourism is the fastest growing industry in the U.S.
News on 6 anchor Craig Day says a nationwide travel expert known as the Dr. Phil of the tourism industry is giving straight talk to one eastern Oklahoma community.
From Muskogee azaleas to music. Fun in the sun, to history on display, Muskogee has a lot for visitors. But the city wants to make sure its reaching its tourism potential.
So they brought Roger Brooks. "Once I found downtown along Broadway, I found some incredible stuff." Brooks is known as the Dr. Phil of tourism. He says it may be because of the hairline and mustache, but it's also about being honest and up front. "It's very hard for people to step out of their shoes and into the shoes of a visitor."
Brooks delivers objective, straight talk on ways to bring tourists to town. For several days, he anonymously visited attractions. He says the potential of downtown is amazing. Brooks says the main thing the community has going for it is name recognition.
He says nationwide when you ask people to identify Oklahoma towns, they'll list off Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Muskogee, mainly of the famous song 'Okie from Muskogee.' But Brooks says Muskogee needs improved beautification and curb appeal, better signs, and should identify and promote what makes the town unique. "You can't be all things to all people. You have to have something different that I can't get in Kansas City or Oklahoma City or even in Tulsa that makes you worth that special drive. Sometimes you have to create that. Sometimes you take what you've got and make it better."
Muskogee Tourismâ€™s director Treasure Ruttman: "Now that our community has an idea of what a visitor sees when they come to town, we can definitely know where we can go from here."
The Chamber and business leaders will now work to implement some of those 61 suggestions proposed by Brooks.