The Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the University of Oklahoma have been scheduling meetings around the state to get public input on how to promote Route 66, which is applying for national recognition as a Scenic Byway.
Many of these stories run the usual gamut of opinions. But this story by the Edmond Sun contained a few interesting tidbits from an OU survey of thousands of households:
“The survey indicated we need to educate people about the value of Route 66,” said Pam Lewis, University of Oklahoma Outreach contract manager for the state Scenic Byways program. […]
“We have to begin to think about the next generation traveler,” Lewis said. “How do we get in the technology where people are talking in an electronic mode.”
When asked which activities attract out-of-state travelers, only 1.1 percent of survey respondents mentioned Route 66 and 80.6 percent did not mention it at all. [My emphasis.] When asked if they thought out-of-state travelers would be interested in Route 66, 61.3 of respondents believed they would be very to somewhat interested while 38.7 said not at all interested or they didn’t know.
Lewis said the State Byways Program came up with some ideas to promote Route 66 and encourage economic development, which included forming a Leadership Development Council that would meet six to seven times and releasing a podcast series, “Audio 66,” that captures the history of Oklahoma and Route 66.
“About 75 percent of our downtown visitors are not Edmondites,” O’Neil said. “They’re looking for that Route 66 experience.”
It’s interesting to see how many Oklahomans are unaware of the potential right in their back yards.