Tourism Means $7.2 Billion for Oklahoma

Nov 18, 2013

Downtown Tulsa
Credit Department of Tourism

The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department has released the state’s 2012 domestic tourism economic impact numbers.

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.

“Oklahoma is a beautiful state and there’s a lot to see and do,” Gov. Mary Fallin said. “It’s no surprise that it’s an increasingly popular destination for tourists. That’s great news for all Oklahomans, as tourism and travel continues to spur economic growth, create jobs, and increase state revenue. Successfully promoting the state’s attractions and natural assets – which the Tourism Department does a tremendous job of – also adds to Oklahoma’s positive image throughout the country and even the world.”

“The economic impact numbers show that the Tourism industry in the State of Oklahoma is strong, and is continuing to grow,” said Deby Snodgrass, Oklahoma’s Secretary of Tourism and the Executive Director of the OTRD.  “OTRD works with not only our Tourism Industry partners across the state, but also with the private industry to ensure the future growth of Tourism in Oklahoma.”

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 four percent from just more than $1 billion in 2011 to $1.1 billion in 2012. Spending by domestic travelers in Oklahoma generated $ 385.3 million in tax revenue for the state treasury through state sales and excise taxes, and taxes on personal and corporate income. On average, each travel dollar produced 5.4 cents in state tax receipts. Oklahoma counties collected $188 million in local taxes in 2012, up seven percent over 2011.

Additional highlights from the study include:

  • Oklahoma’s tourism industry is a vital employer – 78,200 jobs were generated by Oklahoma’s tourism industry in 2012.
    • Without these jobs generated by domestic travel, Oklahoma’s 2012 unemployment rate of 5 percent would have been 4.3 points higher than it was, or 9.5 percent of the labor force.
    • On average, every $91,640 spent in Oklahoma by domestic travelers generated one job in 2012.
  • Oklahoma tourism generates significant tax revenue – Domestic spending in Oklahoma generated more than $1.1 billion in tax revenue for federal, state and local governments in 2012. This is up 4.0 percent from 2011.
  • Tourism benefits all 77 counties in Oklahoma – Travel expenditures occurred throughout all of the 77 counties in Oklahoma, with 19 counties receiving more than $50 million in domestic travel expenditures in 2012.
    • Six counties indicated 1,000 or more jobs directly supported by domestic travel.
    • Tourism generated almost $2.5 billion in Oklahoma County and over $1.7 billion in Tulsa County for 2012.