COVID-19 Pandemic Causes Canceled Events, Impacting Tulsa Area Economy

Tulsa Regional Chamber said the economic impact of events cancelled in 2020 so far is costing the city more than $93 million over the last five months. Tulsa typically sees dozens of events in the summer that bring in thousands of people from across the region, but this year Tulsa's tourism has taken a big hit. 

Last summer, downtown Tulsa saw large crowds of people at Mayfest, but this year it was one of the first big events to cancel. 

"Mayfest fell right within that eight week period. So the last day of the festival fell right within that guidance. So we were forced to cancel that pretty early on," said Heather Pingry, Director of Mayfest. 

Pingry said health officials advised against crowds larger than 50 people so they cancelled the event. She said they estimate Mayfest pumps $6 million dollars into Tulsa's economy. 

"All of the people that are coming in and spending the night at a local hotel and are eating at our local restaurants," said Pingry.

The Tulsa Regional Chamber said 73 events have been cancelled since March. They estimate those events to have a $93 million impact on our city. This doesn't include the 31 other events postponed for the fall and some that haven't even announced their plans yet. 

"A lot of people are holding off on their registrations until they know what's going to happen with the whole COVID-19 situation. But we staying optimistic all the time and we are planning we're moving forward this in 2021," said Destiny Green, Executive Director of Route 66 Marathon. 

Green said they haven't not yet made a decision about what is going to happen this year. She said each year people from all 50 states and around the world travel to Tulsa for the race. Last year, more than 10,000 people registered and Green expects this year to be even bigger. 

“This year we’re currently in an anniversary year. This would be our 15th year. An economic impact on an anniversary year is about ten million dollars," said Green.