The Ponca Politics Committee hosted Oklahoma Lt. Governor Matt Pinnell at City Central’s summit room on Nov. 20. The Lt. Governor spoke for thirty minutes on several topics, predominately his role as Secretary of Tourism and Branding.
“It is my job to make Oklahoma a top ten tourism state,” said Lt. Governor Pinnell.
Pinnell detailed the importance of tourism in Emergency number of people they served as a state dependent on sales tax and how tourism dollars are the easiest to go after for the state’s economy.
“No state has the heritage and the history Oklahoma has,” said Lt. Governor Pinnell. “Very few cities have the history that Ponca City has. Tourism industry is the front door to all the economic developments in Ponca City, or Pawhuska or Bartlesville.”
The Lt. Governor talked about the importance of Oklahoma branding and increasing the number of jobs in the private sector as well as helping already established businesses in the state.
Several projects that have been launched this summer in the tourism industry include the Oklahoma Fishing Trail and the Oklahoma Music Trail, playing to strengths in the state.
According to the Lt. Governor, on average, Oklahoma receives three million tourists visiting the various parks, lakes and rivers. This year saw five million visitors, due in part to other states being closed this summer due to COVID-19 lockdowns.
“If you want to see America, you gotta see Oklahoma,” said Lt. Governor Pinnell.
The Lt. Governor also fielded questions from the audience. Of particular note were local bar owners voicing concerns about the recent COVID-19 restrictions that Governor Kevin Stitt had put into place earlier in the week and how that has impacted their businesses.
The Lt. Governor also talked about rising film industry interest in Oklahoma including the upcoming Martin Scorsese film Killers of the Flower Moon, which will begin filming in Pawhuska in February 2021, and how that industry will help Oklahoma thrive.
The meeting concluded with Mayor Homer Nicholson thanking Lt. Governor Pinnell for his visit. Pinnell was then presented with a gift basket by the Ponca City Chamber.