The Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau was recently presented the 2007 RedBud Merit Award and named Oklahoma's tourism organization of the year.

The award was presented at the 2007 Governor's Conference on Tourism hed during a special gala event last month in Tulsa.

RedBud Awards recognize Oklahoma's tourism attractions, destination marketing organizations and travel writers for their outstanding efforts to serve and promote the state's tourism industry.

“The RedBud Awards represent the highest honor given in recognition of tourism excellence in Oklahoma,” said Hardy Watkins, executive director of the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department. “These awards showcase the best of our state and reward our industry partners for their outstanding efforts operating and promoting world-class attractions.

Entries are evaluated by out-of-state judges based on criteria including customer service, marketing effectiveness, media relations, variety of audiences reached, value, and overall creativity. The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department partners with the Oklahoma Travel Industry Association to present the annual RedBud Awards.

“It was an exciting evening recognizing the efforts of our industry, and a great celebration of tourism during our Centennial year,” Watkins said. “There is no better way to showcase the diversity of travel opportunities in Oklahoma than by honoring the best each year and bestowing them with this award.”

The Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, formed in 1998, is an organization responsible for marketing the Miami area as a destination for conventions, tour groups and individual travelers.

Tourism in Miami is on a rise and many factors contribute to the increase according to Amanda Davis, CVB program director.

“In the first six months of this year, we saw a 1 percent increase in hotel revenue. Requests for our Visitor Guide have tripled over the past year and information packets for our area are being mailed out in record numbers.” Davis said.

Miami is recognized nationally for its draw to Route 66 travelers, according to Davis.

“From the nine-mile stretch of old ribbon road to the sold-out performances at the Coleman Theatre, the ‘jewel' of the Mother Road, travelers pass through Miami and soon find out that there is more to experience than they expected,” Davis said.

Local business owner Tony Holden has recently opened a motorcycle museum that is home to many of Steve McQueen's personal racing bikes and trophies. “We get calls daily about the motorcycles and free tours that are available”, Davis said. “It has become a popular attraction for our community and those visiting Miami.”

Carl Haynes, manager of the Microtel Inn and a board member for the MCVB said that the state level recognition is an added plus for Miami. “There is a concentrated effort to see tourism in Northeast Oklahoma continue to grow. We have a rich history in Miami and a number of attractions, gaming facilities, and concerts that continue to bring visitors into town,” Haynes said.

With the added traffic, the hotel district has experienced record numbers this season. “Our hotel rooms stay full”, says Davis. “With the opening of a new hotel this month, we added ninety new rooms. In June 2008, another hotel will open and provide an additional seventy-four rooms”. Davis concluded, “Our growth is exciting and it is evident that Miami has become a top destination in Oklahoma.”

For more information about the CVB, visit www.visitmiamiok.com or call 918.542.44 35.