Tourists Still Flocking to Wichita Falls

The City of Wichita Falls sees millions of dollars coming in from tourism.  With high gas prices and summer around the corner officials are doing all they can to keep our economy running and tourists pouring in.

This week is National Travel and Tourism week, it runs from May 7 to May 15.  Tourism officials say it is a big part of our economy.  In 2009 tourists accounted for nearly $17 million in direct revenue.

Tourism isn't just about money, it's also about employment.

"When you think about 3,000 jobs, those are just direct jobs coming from tourism and travel," said Lindsay Greer, director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Greer says between Archer, Clay, and Wichita counties, total direct visitor spending in '09 was more than $200 million bucks.  Times are changing as gas prices increase and Greer says it could possibly help our tourism.

"We're very close to the metroplex, we're very close to Oklahoma City so for us we're a good location for people looking for that weekend, two or three day mini vacation for their family," she said.

Also coined as free dollars, tourists are what keep the city thriving without having to put in the
extra infrastructure.

"They come in, they spend their money and they go home," said Cynthia Laney, executive director of Wichita Falls Downtown Development.

A prime example, the Wichita Theatre.

"All of the people that come in for Wichita Theatre productions, over 35 percent are from
surrounding communities," she said.

They come to watch a show and get more than they bargained for.

"They are out, they're shopping, visiting our attractions," said Lindsay Greer.

In honor of Travel and Tourism week the city will have a celebration on Friday at 11 am.  Click here to find out more about that.

Don't forget Cajun Fest is this weekend in downtown Wichita Falls beginning at noon.  Click here for details.

In celebration of summer Newschannel 6 has a page filled with the top summer headlines from picking out the best protective eyewear to slashing your electricity bill.  Click here for that page.

Crystal Hall Newschannel 6.