Volume 16, Issue 5 | May 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

The days are counting down until we will gather again in Salina for the TIAK Board Meeting and Educational Session. I hope everyone is able to join us as we're honored to have Glenna Phillips with the Central Kansas Mental Health Center speak to us on mental health and how our bodies and minds process and handle toxic stress. 

The night before at the Blue Skye Brewery & Eats in downtown Salina, there will also be an informal gathering so, please join us there as well. I understand many of the committees and coalitions have also planned a meeting around those times, I hope everyone can make the most out of their trip.

TIAK has been extremely busy this political season. You already know about the ERO that has allowed Tourism to move from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks over to the Department of Commerce. The actual moving dates have been announced by state tourism, and I hope everyone is keeping up on the latest information on the monthly Tourism Huddles and the very informative Travel Talk Light emails from the Department. Read more.
conference logo
2021 KTC Registration Coming Soon!

Mark your calendars and start making plans to attend the 2021 Kansas Tourism Conference...IN PERSON! The following hotel room blocks have been made near the Liberal Conference Center. Please use the group name Kansas Tourism Conference when making your reservations.

501 Hotel Drive
Liberal, Kansas 67901
(620) 624-1200
Room rate: $99/night plus tax
Last day to book: Friday, October 8, 2021
Booking Link: Click here

508 Hotel Drive
Liberal, Kansas 67901
(620) 604-0699
Room rate: $99/night plus tax
Booking Link: Click here

TIAK is thrilled to be planning a face-to-face KTC this year and is hoping for a record-high turnout. Don't miss out! Registration is scheduled to open on June 1.
June Tourism Huddle

TIAK and Kansas Tourism will host our next virtual huddle on Wednesday, June 9 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.
June Educational Seminar: Mental Health

Join us on June 10 from 11:30am - 2:00pm in Salina for our next TIAK educational seminar.

We're honored to have Glenna Phillips with the Central Kansas Mental Health Center speak to us on mental health and how our bodies and minds process and handle toxic stress. Don't miss out on learning new ways to manage stress during these uncertain times.

The cost to register is $25 and includes a boxed lunch.
Business Community To Meet With Governor on Ending Additional UI Federal Benefits

TIAK joined a growing coalition of Kansas business organizations and employers that accepted an invitation to meet with Kansas Governor Laura Kelly to discuss the best ways to help employers recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The invitation came after the coalition sent a letter to the Governor asking her to end the state's involvement in a federal program that provides additional unemployment benefits. 

“Without workers, our industry struggles. Right now, people want to travel, they have money to spend, and businesses need the revenue. We need to get people back to work to facilitate those transactions," Julie Roller, TIAK Board President-Elect, said.

The coalition sent its acceptance letter to Governor Kelly on May 21. The letter also updated the Governor on workforce actions taken by other states and added the names of more than 100 employers who support ending the additional UI federal benefits in Kansas. Read more.
Kansas Celebrates #NTTW21

Governor Laura Kelly on May 5 signed a proclamation celebrating travel and tourism as an economic driver, business recruitment tool, and an important element of state and community pride. May 2-8 marked the 38th annual National Travel and Tourism Week.

"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.”

Check out how some Kansas communities celebrated this important industry and took part in their own #NTTW21 activities!
TIAK members join Governor Laura Kelly on May 5 at the Topeka Zoo in a proclamation signing for National Travel and Tourism Week.
Alan Carr from Visit KC comes to the Kansas Statehouse on Many 6 to deliver donuts to lawmakers during National Travel and Tourism Week.
Sine Die Outlook
The Kansas Legislature will return to Topeka on Wednesday, May 26 to officially close out the 2021 Legislative Session. Sine Die is typically a quick and strictly ceremonial adjournment of session. This year, however, some lawmakers will have at least one item of business on the agenda before they head home.
Senate Republicans will elect a new Majority Leader on Wednesday to replace Senator Gene Sullentrop (Wichita) who was voted out of that leadership position in April. It’s a three-way race between Assistant Majority Leader Larry Alley (Winfield), former Majority Leader Jeff Longbine (Emporia), and chairman of the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee Richard Hildebrand (Galena). If the caucus elects Senator Alley, Senator Renee Erickson (Wichita) is likely to be his replacement as Assistant Majority Leader.
It does not appear likely that the Legislature will attempt a veto override on Sine Die for either of the two bills or budget line item that Governor Kelly vetoed last week: Senate Bill 273, relief for small businesses affected by government shutdowns during the pandemic; Senate Bill 29, short-term, limited duration health plans; and Senate Bill 159, stem cell research funding in the omnibus budget, although the Senate is still discussing an override.
The Joint Committee on Information Technology and Legislative Coordinating Council are the only other bodies scheduled to meet on Wednesday.
First 40 Transportation Projects Underway

The following message was sent from Transportation Secretary Julie Lorenz on May 17:

One year ago, today, I was joined by Governor Laura Kelly to announce the first 40 highway modernization and expansion projects to move into the development pipeline for the Eisenhower Transportation Legacy Program, IKE. This occurred just 56 working days after the Kansas Legislature passed IKE.

For context, our previous program, T-WORKS, was passed by the Legislature in May 2010 and projects were announced over a year later in June 2011. To be clear, this is not to criticize T-WORKS, a program we’re all rightfully proud of, rather it’s to demonstrate the importance of adapting business processes to meet this moment for Kansans.

Years of budget cuts had left our development pipeline bare in 2020, and we needed to reinvest in our future quickly to make our roads safer, create jobs and deliver the opportunities Kansans deserve. I am proud to say that work is underway on all 40 of those projects that were placed in the IKE development pipeline. These are important projects to our state – ones that were selected in collaboration with Kansans through Local Consult discussions.

Getting these projects into development so quickly, while also managing the other types of projects that KDOT delivers, required the implementation of new approaches and tools. In this last year we’ve brought a program management consultant (PMC) on board, streamlined our procurement processes, and developed a resource management tool as good as any in the private sector to estimate workload and staffing needs. Each of those has contributed to us being able to deliver faster and more efficiently.

We work with sense of urgency because we know these projects are important. And we also know that all eyes are on Washington, D.C., as discussions are underway on an infrastructure stimulus bill. Without knowing how that package might unfold, we can expect shovel-ready projects to have an advantage in selection processes. We are working hard every day to make sure projects can move forward as quickly as possible.
From Kansas farms to towns to cities, regardless of where you choose to call home, our transportation system connects all of us and it takes a collective effort to make sure it works as well as it should.

To the Kansans who provide input at Local Consult, Governor Kelly and the bipartisan group of legislators who support and champion IKE, and last but certainly not least, KDOT employees who work hard every day to deliver more for Kansas – thank you all for being on Team IKE. I could not be prouder to be a part of it.
April 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 April.


Tourism Huddle
June 9

June Dinner and Educational Seminar
June 9-10

TIAK Board Meetings
June 10, August 12, October 18, December 9

TIAK Committee Meetings
June 9, July 8, September 9, November 11

Kansas Tourism Conference
SAVE THE DATE! October 18-20, Liberal
October 2022, Wichita
October 2023, Dodge City