LAWTON, Okla._The Lawton-Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce Tourism Department has created its own Convention and Visitors Bureau in an effort to attract more people to the city.
The group is comprised of a 13-member advisory board, which will help promote, enhance and create opportunities in the community. The CVB isn't something created here in Lawton, but actually has a lengthy and prominent history across the country.
The Lawton-Fort Sill CVB director, Jacob Russell, says bringing this to our community was only a matter of time. Russell says the tourism in the area wasn't hurting, but it was falling behind.
"Lawton-Fort Sill was one of the only communities in our region, especially of our size, in the Midwest that was still operating tourism out of a chamber of commerce," Russell explained.
That's why they took steps to implement their very own CVB. It's an advisory board that runs on funding from the hotel/motel tax, and is made up of tourism partners in Lawton. This includes an agriculture chair, sports chair and a tourism chair. They meet on the second Monday of each month at the Chamber office at 3:00 p.m., and Russell says the community is more than welcome to join in.
"They're going to have a chance to voice. They aren't going to sit quietly on a wall. But like I said, it is an open opportunity for anyone with any good ideas," Russell said.
Hossein Moini, CVB chairman, understands the importance of tourism and how it can help in restaurants, stores and gas stations.
"We have a lot to offer with the wildlife refuge, the museums and everything happening on Fort Sill. The dollars the tourists spend in a community is huge," Moini explained.
Russell says it doesn't only benefit the economy, but those visiting this area get something from it as well.
"That's tourism to me, it's the emotional connection. It's more than just saying you've been somewhere, it's how that place made you feel and why would you go back," Russell said.