Tourism representatives from the tri-state area of museums, tourism sites and hotels participated in the Tri-State Regional Tourism Forum on Friday at the Joplin City Hall basement conference room.

Representatives from Newton County Tourism Council (NCTC), Newtonia Battlefields Protection Association (NBPA), the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, Indigo Sky Casino, Downstream Casino and Resort, Miami, Okla. and hotels participated in the event.

“It is a chance for all of the folks in the five county area: Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri, to get together and compare notes, what is going on with tourism,” said Patrick Tuttle, director of the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Some projects we are working on, what are some of the advantages we have together. Working together is a lot better off than working as individuals.”

The group also heard from Steve Roark, president of NCTC, who talked about the group’s documentaries.

In the last few years, the NCTC has had four documentaries: one about Thomas Hart Benton, one about Charles Banks Wilson, one about the first Civil War battle in Newtonia and the newest one called “The Ozarks Uplift: The Story of the Tri-State Mining.”

“This documentary (the mining one) is our first true tri-state documentary on tri-state mining,” said Roark. “It starts off in Granby, goes through Southwest Missouri, goes over into Oklahoma, and goes up into Southeast Kansas. It truly links all three of our states together.”

Asked if Tuttle is seeing tourism being on the upward swing with day vacations, he said yes.

“Day tours or short week vacations, are a very important part of what people do,” said Tuttle.

Last year, Route 66 fans traveled across the United States and overseas to participate in the 2013 Route 66 International Festival, which took place in Carthage, Joplin and Galena, Kan.

Tuttle said that is one thing they are hoping to capitalize on in the future.
“One thing that we are working on is Route 66 between Carthage, Joplin and Miami, is to get the bus tours on I-44 to pull off and have a Route 66 experience, whether for six hours, or a day, whatever it is, get people into the restaurants, hotels and sites,” he said.

Roark encouraged the representatives to work together.

“We live in an regional area,” said Roark. “If we can’t move toward working together, then none of us will survive or prosper. We have to work together.”

The forum is held bi-annually. More than 40 people attended Friday’s event.