TULSA, Okla., (August 2, 2011) --- The Cherokee Nation officially begins operating the Oklahoma Welcome Center in east Tulsa today. Officials with the Cherokee Nation and Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department marked the new partnership with a special ceremony. Now called the Cherokee Nation Welcome Center, the facility is located at I-44 and 161st East Ave, Tulsa, OK 74116.

The 4,200 square foot center was in danger of being closed due to state budget cuts at the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department. An agreement between the state and the Cherokee Nation was reached that transfers daily operations to the tribe, which will continue to promote both Cherokee and Oklahoma tourist destinations in the area.

“This arrangement allows us to continue to be a good partner to the state of Oklahoma and to promote tourism in northeastern Oklahoma to travelers along I-44,” said Molly Jarvis, Vice President of Cultural Tourism at Cherokee Nation Entertainment. “We will continue to operate the facility as a welcome center for Oklahoma while using our guest service and tourism experience to promote the communities within Cherokee Nation’s 14-county jurisdiction.”

The Cherokee Nation Welcome Center will house an information desk, tourist destination information, maps, snacks and a gift shop featuring Oklahoma related merchandise along with Cherokee Nation art, jewelry and apparel.

“We are grateful to Cherokee Nation and Cherokee Nation Entertainment for leading this effort to provide Oklahoma visitors with specialized materials which showcase the tourism attractions in the Cherokee Nation as well as information about travel destinations statewide,” said Sandy Pantlik, Travel Promotion Director at Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department. “Without this valued partnership, the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department was considering closure of this facility due to budget cuts.”

The Cherokee Nation Welcome Center in Tulsa is the second welcome center partnership between the Cherokee Nation and the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department. In 2010, the first Oklahoma-turned-Cherokee Nation Welcome Center opened in Kansas. It is located just off the Cherokee Turnpike and 59914 US Hwy 59, Kansas, OK 74347.  

“More than 1.3 million visitors stop at Oklahoma’s Tourism Information Centers each year and I know that Cherokee Nation Entertainment will further enhance the positive experience of the traveling public as they assume operation of the welcome center,” added Pantlik.

The Cherokee Nation Welcome Center in Tulsa is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For additional information, please call (918) 384-5987.

Cherokee Nation Entertainment now operates two welcome centers, six gift shops and a new retail website that features authentic Native American merchandise including apparel, art, books, gifts and jewelry. The online store can be found at www.CherokeeGiftShop.com.

For information on the Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism program and Cherokee Nation Gift Shops, please call (877) 779-6977 or visit http://www.CherokeeTourismOK.com.

About Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism Group
The Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism Group is managed by Cherokee Nation Entertainment and was created in 2007 to preserve and promote the history and culture of the Cherokee people. Efforts by the Cherokee Nation include developing guided community and educational tours, creating tourism partnerships and programs throughout northeastern Oklahoma, and launching a new Cherokee tourism-specific website. For more information, please visit http://www.CherokeeTourismOK.com.

About Cherokee Nation Entertainment
Cherokee Nation Entertainment is the gaming, hospitality, retail and tourism entity of the Cherokee Nation. Cherokee Nation Entertainment operates Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa, seven Cherokee Casinos, four hotels, two golf courses and many other retail operations in northeastern Oklahoma. For more information, please visit http://www.CherokeeStarRewards.com.
About Cherokee Nation
The Cherokee Nation is the sovereign operating government of the Cherokee people.  It is a federally recognized tribe of more than 300,000 Cherokee citizens, with its capital located in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Employing more than 8,000 people, Cherokee Nation’s annual economic impact in Oklahoma and surrounding areas is more than $1 billion. To learn more, please visit http://www.cherokee.org.


Cameron Andrews
Pier Communications
562-432-5300 – office

Ben Elder
Cherokee Nation Entertainment
918-384-5853 - office