The welcome mat is often the first greeting of a home. It usually reflects the owners' personalities or another personal characteristic. As you step up to the door, you know if the homeowner likes to sail, hunt, fish, where they like to vacation, derivatives of their surname, etc...The welcome mat says so much while working effortlessly lying there.
Tourism is the welcome mat of most, if not all, states. The great state of Oklahoma is no different. The landscape, topography, people, hospitality, food and recreation all in part reflect the characteristics of our history and heritage. Oklahoma boasts an abundance of successful industries: energy, agriculture, bioscience, and aerospace, just to name a few. Interestingly, the third highest grossing revenue industry is tourism.
Tourism consists of many shapes and sizes public and private: parks, lodging, restaurants, agri-tourism, recreation, genealogy, sports, and much more. As Lieutenant Governor in my monthly columns, radio and television, I have encouraged our state to use tourism at every opportunity. As families we should attempt to have at least one "staycation" a year in state. During holidays, family reunions and other family celebrations we should plan events around a local festival or event or invite your family to a unique in-state venue. As professionals we should encourage our businesses and associations to have their annual picnics, meetings and conferences right here in Oklahoma. Monica and I want our children to love Oklahoma as much we do. We have always taken family "staycations". Professionally, I am honored to be hosting the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA) in Oklahoma this July. (I'll write more on that next month).
Tourism is a tool that provides a positive glimpse of Oklahoma. As a state, we must continue to use it to our advantage. Oklahoma has so many natural assets that distinguish us from other states:
Forests cover 24 percent of Oklahoma.
Oklahoma has four mountain ranges: Ouachita, Arbuckle, Wichita and Ozark.
Oklahoma has more man-made lakes (200) than any other state, more than 1 million surface-acres of water and 2,000 more miles of shoreline than the Atlantic and Gulf coasts combined.
The world's largest single deposit of pure alabaster is found in the Alabaster Caverns near Freedom, Oklahoma.
Oklahoma is home to four distinct topographical regions.
Whether you are native to Oklahoma, recently relocated, or just passing through, stop, smell the roses and check out Oklahoma's welcome mat. You'll be glad you did.
As always, my office is open and ready to assist you in any way we can. I am excited to hear your ideas. Feel free to visit our website at www.ok.gov/ltgovernor, find us on Facebook and Twitter (@LtGovToddLamb) or call our office at (405) 521-2161.