|By Robert Evatt, Tulsa World,
Okla.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
June 23, 2010 --To paraphrase Johnny Cash, Dave Nolan has been everywhere, man.
He's been the head of convention and visitor bureaus in Milwaukee, Cleveland, Ohio, and currently Toledo, Ohio, and his past work for Marriott International moved him to Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and six other cities.
Now Nolan is headed to Tulsa to be senior vice president of VisitTulsa, the convention and visitor program at the Tulsa Metro Chamber, and he says Tulsa compares well to cities where he has worked.
"I was blown away by the progressiveness of the city, the leadership and the open hospitality," he said.
Nolan will take charge of attracting people -- and their spending power -- to the Tulsa area starting Aug. 2.
A 30-year veteran of the hospitality industry, Nolan said he hopes to bring "youthful energy" to efforts for bringing more conventions and individual visitors to the area.
Nolan said the city has no shortage of attractions compared to others of similar size, especially with the new BOK Center, ONEOK Field and the renovated Tulsa Convention Center downtown.
"You have to walk away feeling like you're a kid in Candyland," he said. "The new and renovated facilities are tremendous."
Beyond the big new facilities, Nolan said he feels the area has a progressive arts community and gaming scene that should be emphasized to potential visitors.<>Another advantage he cited is the number of visionaries in the public and private sectors providing strong leadership, as well as the progress being made with the Vision 2025 plan. >
That's not to say he doesn't see any challenges ahead. Echoing a call by other chamber representatives in the past, Nolan said Tulsa needs to keep building more attractive hotel rooms within walking distance of the convention center and the BOK Center.
He also wants to encourage further collaboration between the local government and the stakeholders in the tourism industry for their mutual benefit.
"Sometimes the invisible industry, which we're called, becomes very, very visible," he said.
Robert Evatt 581-8447 firstname.lastname@example.org
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