While businesses are feeling the burn of increasing gas prices, local tourism seems somewhat unscathed.

Jessika Davis, director of Duncan’s Convention and Vistors Bureau, said, “From what I understand, tourism areas aren’t really suffering. People are just traveling 30 or 60 miles instead of across the country.

“People still want to go do something. And so they’ll go to neighboring towns. They go to see what’s in their own backyard.”

Among the local sites, gas prices have had little effect on the Stephens County fairgrounds and the Duncan area lakes.

Danny Lowrance, fairgrounds manager, said he had not really noticed a difference in fairgrounds program attendance.

“It amazes me how many people are still coming to the horse shows,” Lowrance said.

“It amazing how many people pull in here driving big trucks with big trailers, coming from New Mexico.

“People might also be staying home and using the facilities here.”

Rusty Smith, lakes caretaker, said gas prices might have had some effect on lake attendance, but the heat and the drought had more of an effect.

“Gas hasn’t affected it a whole lot,” Smith said. “It’s just so hot right now. It always slows down when it gets hot.

“The drought is hurting us. If it doesn’t rain, it will be a cause for concern.”

Rachel Jackson, Main Street Duncan director, said that despite the increase in gas prices, several Main Street programs have done better than previous years.

“I know we had a better turnout at Founder’s Day than the last three years,” Jackson said. “It could be because of the people not wanting to travel that far because of gas prices. It could be because of advertising.

“We just had more attendance throughout the day, instead of dropping off in the afternoon.”

Davis said that during the summer, the tourism department receives most of its calls from people wanting to travel. She said most people call from Oklahoma, followed by Texas and Missouri.

Although there has not been much effect on area tourism, she said fewer calls requesting information came in May compared to January. In January, the department received 476 calls. In May, the department got 331 calls.

“We’re still getting plenty of calls,” Davis said.

Jackson said gas prices will probably keep people in the area or reduce their traveling distances.

“I have noticed people taking strolls,” she said. “And it’s probably keeping them in town. I think people are taking shorter trips, coming from Lawton and Ardmore.”

She said she has noticed people coming from out of town.

Scott Vaughn, public works director, said the lakes were at capacity during Memorial Day weekend, although gas prices had increased. He said the permit sales were normal.

“It’s probably keeping folks closer, but I don’t know for sure,” Vaughn said.

Lowrance said that although he has not seen a change in tourism at the fairgrounds, the reason might be because of how people are traveling to the shows at the fairgrounds.

“We do have a lot of horse people who have living quarters in their trailers,” he said. “That might have something to do with it.

“We still have big roping, like Memorial Day. Maybe tourism would be that much better if the gas prices were lower.”

Jackson said that the state of tourism is still dependent on gas prices.

“I’m sure gas crosses people’s minds when they travel,” she said.

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