Tulsa Looks To Boost Tourism By Marketing Route 66

Tuesday, July 26th 2016, 6:25 pm
By: Emory Bryan

People who have lived and worked around Route 66 might not have realized the potential for this road to pull in tourists.

"As locals, we sometimes discount the historic relevance to who we are, the Europeans, the Germans, the Brits, they really love this history," said Ray Hoyt of the Tulsa Convention & Visitor's Bureau.

Hoyt and other civic leaders, part of the Route 66 commission, toured the old highway to see what's here and how Tulsa could get more out of it.

There are long stretches of the highway, some old and new landmarks, but the worry is tourists still can't find it.

"There's not good signage,” said Ken Busby of the Route 66 Experience. “They don't know where they're supposed to go, and they're not getting anything in social media or elsewhere marketing Route 66."

The new drive to pay attention to Route 66 comes with some backing from the Vision plan, $200,000 a year. The question is what to do with the money.

"What can we do better on signage? What can we do on marketing, to make people stop and explore the rest of Tulsa," Busby asked.

For a city councilor with a stretch of highway in her district, Route 66 is a chance to bring in jobs and money for the city with infrastructure that's mostly already here.

"We need to get those people to know about Tulsa and to promote our city,” said Tulsa City Councilor Jeannie Cue. “That would be a big economic development boost for our city."