Governor Laura Kelly today signed a proclamation celebrating travel and tourism as an economic driver, business recruitment tool, and an important element of state and community pride.
“The travel and tourism industry are significant economic drivers in Kansas,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “The industry directly supports more than 66,000 jobs, and in 2019 alone, brought in $7.3 billion into our state. As we continue to get back to normal and recover from the pandemic, we will build on this success and create a robust, centralized effort to attract more travel and tourism to Kansas.”
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The proclamation, which declares May 2-9 National Travel and Tourism Week, recognizes 2021 as a year of rebuilding and growth for Kansas travel after the pandemic put a pause on welcoming visitors. The Governor signed the proclamation at the newly built Kay McFarland Japanese Garden located in the Topeka Zoo & Conservation Center, surrounded by Kansas travel industry leaders.
“Tourism is how we show people from around the world that Kansas is the best place to live and to work,” Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland said. “Every new resident and every business developer starts as a visitor. Combining tourism with the dedicated economic development programs at the Department of Commerce allows us to be laser focused on our mission: creating and bringing new talent to our state and helping ensure their businesses can flourish. When it comes to building the new Kansas economy, tourism will be an essential tool.”
The combined direct and indirect economic impact of travel amounted to $11.8 billion in 2019. That generated $671 million in state and local tax revenue, a figure that to replace would require an additional $600 in taxes from each Kansas family.
Kansas Tourism will relocate to the Kansas Department of Commerce July 1, 2021 as part of a strategic effort to focus on Tourism as an economic driver in the state. The relocation is a result of input from members of the tourism industry throughout the state that promoted the successful Executive Reorganization Order (ERO) that Governor Kelly submitted earlier this year.
In comments during the proclamation signing, both Governor Kelly and Lt. Governor Toland thanked members of the Kansas tourism industry and Kansas travel related organizations for their vision and support of the ERO process.
In the last year, Kansas Tourism has developed new marketing strategies that inspire exploration of Kansas for residents and non-residents alike. This includes the new “To The Stars” tagline that builds on the Kansas motto Ad Astra Per Aspera.
Additionally, Kansas Tourism unveiled a new website this week that makes it easier for travelers to plan an unforgettable Kansas experience.
“The new website is a great tool we can’t wait for everyone to use,” said Kansas Tourism Director Bridgette Jobe. “It includes planning tools, travel ideas, and inspiring imagery built on a user interface that’s easy to navigate. Everyone should go take a look.”
The new website is found at https://www.travelks.com/.
National Travel and Tourism Week is an annual tradition sponsored by the U.S. Travel Association.
To view the proclamation, please click here.