Tourism marketing discussed at meeting

By Jessica Breger jbreger@civitasmedia.com

May 9, 2014

Community leaders and tourism directors from across southeastern Oklahoma gathered in Durant Thursday evening to discuss marketing the area to tourists.

A town-hall meeting was organized by the new Choctaw Tourism Department. Tourism Director Lana Sleeper said the department is only a few months old and is still in the information gathering process.

The meeting called together leaders and residents to get ideas and feedback on how to attract tourists to the area.

The meeting was led by Assistant Research Professor of Business and Tourism at The George Washington University Kristin Lamoureux.

Lamoureux is helping Sleeper develop a strategy for tourism in the area. Following instruction from a book written by Lamoureux, the Choctaw Tourism Department has been gathering information from surveys.

The surveys and information from the meeting posed questions such as what attracts a tourist to an area and what are some things that hinder our tourism.

Attendees gathered around four tables each containing its own question. They had 10 minutes to discuss the question before moving to another table.

After three rounds of musical tables, an open discussion revealed the ideas and concerns of the attendees.

Lamoureux said this was a good way to get “resident feedback” and address issues that are seen by people living in southeastern Oklahoma.

She and Sleeper both said this research will benefit more than just the Choctaw Nation. It will benefit the region as a whole by bringing in tourism and business to the area.