As the tourism arm for the city, Visit Enid has one main objective: Move Enid forward.
In 2019, director Marcy Jarrett and communications coordinator Rob Houston are focusing on three ways to reach that objective: conferences, sporting events and film opportunities.
This directive comes on the heels of the results from an updated travel research study, based on feedback from a cross-section of resources such as TravelOK.com, Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce, Enid Regional Development Alliance and local attractions.
“It gave us the data that feeds into the plan to move Enid forward,” Jarrett said.
Armed with that data and aiming for Enid’s goal to reach $1 billion in sales tax revenue by 2025, Visit Enid is targeting specific markets to get more people to Enid.
“It all starts with a visit,” Jarrett said. The more people attracted to Enid, the more who might decide to live in Enid and the more businesses will open — it all adds up, she said.
By attracting people who wouldn’t otherwise come here, Visit Enid opens doors, Jarrett said. She and Houston are attempting to allure organizations from across the nation to bring conferences to Enid.
The appeal? A downtown hotel, slated to open in July, paired with a 5,000-seat arena and convention space, not to mention new attractions downtown including a new brewery and walk-through art.
Houston will attend the National Association of Sports Commissions in May to network with the heads of hundreds of sports organizations and turn them on to hosting their next sporting events in Enid.
“They plan out three to four years in advance,” Houston said. “How can we get a piece of the action?”
He intends to zone in on bringing tournaments and conferences such as soccer, pickleball, horseshoes and biking.
Why those particular sports? Because Enid will have a new soccer complex by 2020, has three pickleball leagues and is developing pickleball courts, is home to the most horseshoe pits in the state and has an established a hiking and biking system
“We work closely with the Oklahoma Film and Music Office,” Jarrett said.
Houston said Oklahoma has the best incentives for filmmakers in the nation, thanks to a 35 percent cash rebate offered and 11 eco-regions available in one state.
“That gets their attention,” he said.
Houston recently returned from the Sundance Film Festival, where movies filmed in and around Enid made world premieres in 2018 and 2019. Enid has played host to multiple feature films including “Wildlife,” “To The Stars” and “The Killer Inside Me.”
Enid is perfectly positioned to cater to filmmakers, actors and film crews for weeks or even months — and Visit Enid will do whatever it takes to accommodate them, Jarrett said.
“We serve as their concierge,” she said. That might mean driving them around the area to spot the ideal film location, arranging housing for cast or securing the right connections within the city.
“We do what we can do to bring them to Enid,” Jarrett said, adding, “If we get them here the first time, we can get them to come back again.”
Visit Enid’s Welcome Center is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or 24/7 via VisitEnid.org.
Story provided by Enid News & Eagle