Volume 16, Issue 7 | July 2021
TIAK Talk is published monthly for members of the Travel Industry Association of Kansas.
By Jim Zaleski
Serving at the Pleasure of the Membership

Greetings from Sunny Florida, although it's currently more rainy than sunny. As I write this letter, I'm sitting at the International Convention of Sport Fishing Trades, otherwise known as ICAST - the world's largest gathering of the fishing industry. I’m lucky enough to attend this trade show as a promoter of the outdoors and through my second career as an outdoor writer and radio host.

I can say I'm happy to simply be sitting here live at a real convention. But as I absorb my surroundings in what is the most iconic and recognizable family destination in the world, I can't help but think about what is missing.

I happen to be at one of my favorite watering holes across from the Orange County Convention Center on famed International Drive. This is one of the busiest restaurants along this well-known road, and there are only two bartenders attempting to keep up with what is far beyond their capacity. Read more.
#KTC21 Are you Registered Yet?

We invite you to be a part of the Kansas tourism industry's "don't miss" conference of the year, October 18-20, 2021 in Liberal. Enjoy inspiring speakers, valuable educational information, and fun networking opportunities. Kansas has so many things to celebrate this year and we can't wait for you to be a part of the fun.

We're excited to welcome back Judge Tommy Webb and Adrienne Bulinksi as our opening and closing general session speakers. Check them out below!
Sponsorship Opportunities

The businesses shown below have generously agreed to support this year's Kansas Tourism Conference. If you're interested in joining them, we've added some new levels of giving. This is your chance to highlight and promote what you have to offer the travel and tourism community: introduce a new product, or remind everyone of a great location, piece of merchandise, or service that you are famous for.
3 ladies holding awards
Marketing Awards Due August 13

Even though it was virtual, last year's Awards campaign showcased the Kansas tourism industry's incredible talent in demonstrating what our State has to offer. TIAK members delivered as usual.

Help us tout our talent again by submitting your entries for the TIAK Marketing Awards by Friday, August 13. One winner from each overall budget category will be presented at the Awards Banquet during the Kansas Tourism Conference in October from the following categories: Visitors Guide (both in-house and outsourced), Online Marketing, Print Marketing, Destination Awareness, and Events.
August Tourism Huddle

TIAK and Kansas Tourism will host our next virtual huddle on Wednesday, August 11 at 1:00 PM. Details coming soon.

Questions should be submitted in advance to office@tiak.org; and there will be a maximum of 250 participants. Each update will be recorded and made available online to anyone that can't participate live.

Recordings of past updates can be found at: https://www.travelks.com/industry/covid19-resources.
Governor Announces $776M in Highway Improvement Projects

Governor Laura Kelly on July 9 announced a total of 24 Expansion and Modernization highway projects – totaling more than $776 million investments – have been committed to construction as part of the Kelly Administration’s bipartisan transportation plan.

After hosting local consult meetings throughout fall 2019, Kansas Department of Transportation staff worked with community leaders to help identify regional transportation priorities and determine cost-effective ways to deliver them.

Projects were announced in Dodge City and Wichita on July 7 and in Topeka and Overland Park on July 8 that will help relieve congestion and enhance safety. Urban projects include the first express toll lane on U.S. 69 in Overland Park, a new Polk-Quincy viaduct in Topeka, a new diverging diamond interchange east of Lawrence and major improvements to the I-235 North Junction in Wichita.

In rural areas, 20 projects across the state will focus on adding or extending more than 26 miles of passing lanes on numerous highways, rehabilitating and adding shoulders on more than 40 miles of highway and widening/adding shoulders on more than 22 miles on sections of K-7.

KDOT will also keep its promise to let to construction one phase of all T-WORKS projects before construction begins on highway improvement projects. Read more and see a complete list of the 24 statewide projects.
Redistricting Hearings Coming
to a Town Near You

The legislative Redistricting Advisory Group will be traveling to 14 communities across the state in the coming months to receive public input on remapping the state’s 40 Senate, 125 House and 4 Congressional districts. This redistricting process happens every 10 years and is based on population of voting precincts statewide.

Dates have not been set, but the locations will be: Wichita, Hutchinson, Salina, Manhattan, Chanute, Pittsburg, Overland Park, Lawrence, Kansas City, Leavenworth, Dodge City, Garden City, Colby, and Hays. The hearings will also be broadcast online.
TIAK Blog Post: On your way to KDS?
Five tips to help you get there by #KTC21

Are you just mere steps away from obtaining your Kansas Destination Specialist designation? Maybe you have a book report to complete, or need to visit an attraction and write a quick report—click here to see where you’re at in the KDS journey!

Make 2021 the year that you go from seeking your KDS to joining the ranks of others who have earned this state-wide designation for tourism professionals. Let’s take a peek at certification requirements as a quick refresher (keep in mind this is not a renewal year, so only new KDS seekers are being awarded in October).

  • Earn 25 points by attending education conferences, seminars, webinars, trainings, etc. Points accumulate as follows: half point for webinar or seminar; one point for half-day session; two points for full-day session; and three points for two or more days. TIAK events are automatically awarded credit. For all other educational events, candidate must submit the Education Session Follow-up Form within the same year as the event was conducted.
  • Read and complete three book reports – one from each category. Categories include: Kansas, Marketing and Leadership. Click here to see the approved reading list!
  • Visit a Kansas attraction, 50+ miles from home, and submit the visiting attraction form. Earn one point for each attraction.

KS Micro-Internships

The Kansas Micro-Internship Program is part of the Kansas Board of Regents’ “Building a Future” strategic plan and the Kansas Department of Commerce’s aim to “connect businesses, job seekers, educational institutions and training providers to ensure the state’s workforce is equipped to meet industry needs and to help create economic success for Kansas residents and businesses.  
Through this program, Kansas-based companies and nonprofit organizations that select a student who is currently enrolled in a Kansas public two-year college or four-year university is eligible to receive a 50% matching micro-grant up to $250 per project (for a maximum of two projects).  There is no cost to students or colleges/universities to participate in this program.
Projects are posted on the Parker Dewey platform where students from across the state can find available opportunities and connect with projects both for this program and from hundreds of other organizations nationwide. Parker Dewey supports organizations by scoping out the projects; handling all HR, payroll and other administration for the project; and the organization can hire the student for a long-term role at no cost. Read more.
Sunflower Summer Program

A new program is helping children stay engaged in learning throughout the summer months while spending quality time with family members and friends touring some of Kansas’ greatest attractions – all for free.

The Sunflower Summer Program, which is being funded by federal COVID-19 money to offer summer enrichment activities for Kansas students, is a collaboration between the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE), Kansas Department of Commerce, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund, KU Center for Public Partnerships and Research, and Greenbush Education Service Center.

“This is a win-win for Kansas students and Kansas attractions,” said Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson. “The Sunflower Summer program can help enrich summer learning and is an excellent opportunity for students and families to go on educational adventures together while supporting nearly 70 Kansas attractions.”

Adults can visit sunflowersummer.org to download the Sunflower Summer mobile app to their phone or tablet device. The app is available for both iPhone and Android users. An adult will need to register their family members and include their county and school district. There are nearly 70 attractions to choose from across the state, including zoos, museums, historic landmarks, libraries and outdoor locations. Read more.
U.S. Travel Announces CEO Transition in 2022

The U.S. Travel Association announced on July 21 at its board of directors meeting that Roger Dow, as previously communicated to the U.S. Travel board, will extend his leadership as president and CEO of the association through next July (2022), at which time he will retire from his position following 17 years of service to the board and the association’s membership.

In his capacity, which he has held since January 2005, Dow has guided U.S. Travel and the broader industry through periods of remarkable growth—marked by 10 consecutive years of expansion from 2009 to 2019. He has also helped it successfully navigate tremendous challenges—most recently, bringing the travel industry together during the Covid-19 pandemic. Dow is credited with leading the legislation that created Brand USA, the nation’s destination marketing organization, and developing policies and programs that enabled domestic and international inbound travel to thrive by ensuring an understanding of travel and tourism as a linchpin of the American economy. Read more.
June Lodging Report

TIAK has an agreement with Smith Travel Research (STR) to provide members with statewide reports on hotel occupancy each month. The following data is provided directly from STR:

Kansas had 63% property participation and 77% hotel room participation in May.
Membership Directory Now Password Protected
In light of recent email phishing attempts, TIAK is now using a password-protected membership database. To access, please contact the TIAK office for the password.


Tourism Huddle
August 11

TIAK Board Meetings
August 12, October 18, December 9

TIAK Executive Committee Meetings
September 9, November 11

Kansas Tourism Conference
October 18-20

Destination Statehouse
February 9, 2022