Escape to the land of Oz

New contest offers Austinites one-way tickets to surprising destination

New contest gives Austinites one-way tickets to surprising destination

Northwest Arkansas Beaver Dam
Hey Austin, the Natural State could be your one way out. Finding NWA/Instagram

A marketing initiative is giving Austin residents a chance to win one-way tickets to the Land of OZ. However, you won’t find Dorothy or Toto hanging out there.

The giveaway is offering one-way flights to OZ, as in the Ozarks, in Northwest Arkansas. As you may know, Northwest Arkansas is home to the headquarters of retail giant Walmart. But it’s also the location of numerous hike-and-bike trails, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, a 459-acre wildlife refuge, and the Walmart Museum.

Why are the tickets on Allegiant good only for a one-way trip?

“Because once visitors see the hidden gem of the Northwest Arkansas region, they won’t want to leave!” explains OZ Brands, sponsor of the contest.

The “One Way Out” campaign “is an opportunity for Austinites who no longer feel at home in their own city to see for themselves the value and qualities of Northwest Arkansas. ... It’s for those living in the Texas city who feel the growing pains of Austin expanding beyond its limits,” OZ Brands says.

OZ Brands goes on to say that the giveaway “is for Austinites who feel like they are losing what made them fall in love with the city years ago.”

“Restaurant reservations are impossible to secure, trails are overpopulated, local attractions are swarming with tourists, housing is getting more expensive, and bachelor and bachelorette parties have taken over downtown,” OZ Brands accurately observes.

The contest seems part of a bigger recent trend to draw Austinites to Northwest Arkansas, which continues to grow from a sleepy college region to a booming metro area.

Northwest Arkansas’ Fayetteville, home to the University of Arkansas, was recently named No. 4 on U.S. News and World Report’s list of 150 Best Places to Live in the U.S. in 2021-2022. The publication notes Fayetteville’s transformation “to a center of higher education, culture, commerce, and entrepreneurialism,” also giving it high marks for quality of life and the job market.

The contest runs through October 29.