We continue to feel the enormous impact of the heavily hit travel and tourism industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The aviation industry is certainly no acceptation, due to travel restrictions and a substantial decrease in demand by domestic and international travelers.

The availability of commercial air service in Stillwater has been a game changer for local visitor development efforts. The availability of flights directly into our community has been the clincher to secure locally hosted meetings and events while effectively expanding our primary targeted geographic market for group and leisure visitors.

Destination marketing and improved connectivity through air service has built more community awareness. It has better allowed us to attract and build relationships with decision makers, increase visitor spending, and contribute to our quality of life – all primary factors in attracting local investments in many other industry sectors.

The airline industry has overcome a number of events and circumstances over the years that adversely impacted their business. And this will be no different.

With Stillwater support, we can influence the extent of the impact of the pandemic, how long the effects will last, and how quickly we can get back to our impressive passenger numbers.

American Airlines recently announced suspended service effective October 7 through November 3 for Stillwater Regional Airport, as well as 14 other airports nationwide. 

Because the airline will re-assess plans dependent upon CARES Act support, it is imperative we let our members of congress know the vital role our partnership with American Airlines has contributed to our economy, economic development efforts, and quality of life.

We need to ensure our senators and representatives in Washington, D.C. hear loud and clear the value direct air service has on the growth and development of our community. 

Additionally, because 14 other communities are facing the same challenge as Stillwater, it would very likely make a positive impact on the decision makers at American Airlines to hear we plan to continue to hit record-breaking passenger numbers when travel resumes around the country. 

Please go to VisitStillwater.org for a sample letter, talking points, and contact information for each of our United States senators and representatives. You will also find contact information for a letter or email to American Airlines.

By taking some time out of your day to reach out to our members of congress in D.C., and our partners with American Airlines, you will help improve the visitor experience, as well as the quality of life for Stillwater residents.   

For the most current and up-to-date information in regard to the Stillwater hospitality industry, go to VisitStillwaterOK.org, “Like” Visit Stillwater on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @VisitStillwater. You may even win one of our online contests throughout the year.

Cristy Morrison, President and CEO, represents Visit Stillwater, 2617 W. 6th Avenue, Stillwater, OK  74074. She can be reached at Cristy@VisitStillwater.org or by calling 405-743-3697.