Tourism is a multi-million dollar industry, and Yukon has a big role in that.
From Route 66 to Christmas in the Park, Yukon attractions draw thousands of visitors to the area each year, said Jennifer Mullins, the director of travel promotions for the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation.
Mullins was the keynote speaker Friday for the annual Mayor’s Breakfast, which was held at the First Methodist Church.
Mullins said tourism in Oklahoma is an $8.9 billion industry, and provides more than $2.3 billion to the state’s payroll.
She also pointed out that statewide, the tourism industry provides about $430 per household in tax revenue.
“It is the third largest industry in Oklahoma,” Mullins told a near-packed house.
The industry also is important to Yukon, she said.
Canadian County is one of the top five counties for drawing visitors, and Yukon is the 14th most visited city in the state.
She said events like the annual Czech Fest, Freedom Fest and Rock the Route are huge draws, bringing in thousands of visitors. Those visitors, in turn, spend money by staying in Yukon’s hotels and eating at Yukon’s restaurants.
In addition, a large number of people make day trips for events such as Christmas in the Park.
She said Yukon always sees a huge increase in visitors in November and December.
Last year, officials have said more than 140,000 people went through the three-park Christmas light display, which runs from late November until Dec. 31.
Mullins said the state tourism department’s job is to promote all 77 counties, and it does so through various media opportunities including its television show, Discover Oklahoma, its magazine, Oklahoma Today, and its website travelok.com.
She said the television show has more than 3 million viewers, while Oklahoma Today has over 300,000 subscribers.
As for the website, it had more than 225 million views last year.
Yukon’s activities and events are included on the website.
She made suggestions about additions to Yukon’s webpage that could draw more visitors to the area, such as adding parks and recreational facilities.
In addition, she pointed to a “free” coupons and deals page, where business can offer specials.
“If you need a little help telling people about your community, that’s what we are here for,” she said.
One of Yukon’s biggest attractions is the Mother Road, she said. Route 66 is preparing to celebrate its 100th birthday in 2025. She said Yukon should join Oklahoma in preparing for the event.
Oklahoma contains the largest number of drivable miles on Route 66 in the nation. She said that fact should be highlighted.
“People love Route 66,” she said.