FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: State Rep. Brian Hill
Phone: (405) 557-7333
Legislation creating the Oklahoma Tourism Ignition Program through the Oklahoma Tourism Department was passed by the Oklahoma House of Representatives today 85-7.
House Bill 3111 was authored by Rep. Brian Hill (R-Mustang) and would increase tourism in cities across the state that are not directly located along Route 66. Through the Tourism Ignition Program, a qualifying municipality could apply for a grant of up to $5,000 toward the creation of a site or landmark intended to generate a positive economic impact.
Hill, whose hometown of Mustang is only a few miles south of Route 66, said there are not many tourists who venture from the Mother Road into their community.
“Through the Tourism Ignition Program, I hope municipalities will consider developing a new statue, structure or mural to increase tourism draw and revenue,” Hill said. “Oklahoma is home to many wonderful communities, and this program will help encourage the thousands of drivers along our 400 miles of Route 66 to explore more of our great state.”
Hill developed the legislation with Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell, who also serves as Secretary of Tourism and Branding.
“I’m pleased that the House has passed House Bill 3111. I’m thankful to Rep. Hill for thinking outside the box and working to get vital tourist draws into Oklahoma communities,” Pinnell said. “The return on investment that tourism has in Oklahoma is a proven success. If municipalities are willing to invest in local attractions, the State of Oklahoma should partner with them to ensure their success. Tourism is economic development for our communities, and I support efforts like this to bring high quality tourist attractions to our communities.”
The program would sunset two years after implementation unless future legislation is filed to extend the program.
House Bill 3111 is now available to be considered in the Senate, where Sen. Paul Rosino (R-Oklahoma City) is the principal author.