Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback announced the formation of the Kansas Ecotourism Steering Committee Wednesday at Wichita’s Great Plains Nature Center.
Gov. Brownback says the 16-member steering committee will help guide ecotourism efforts as well as recommend objectives and marketing strategies to grow the industry in the state.
Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Secretary Robin Jennison will spearhead the group.
“As we get more urban, it’s more important that we introduce people to the outdoors to introduce people to our natural resources and how important those natural resources are because if you don’t appreciate something you won’t want to conserve it,” says Jennison.
He says there are many outstanding natural features in Kansas that are showcases for the state, including a wetlands site.
“I like to see us get more lodging at Cheyenne Bottoms so that people from Boston and from around the world, they’ve been following this particular migratory bird much of their life that they could sleep there right next to Cheyenne Bottoms and wake up in the morning hearing the bird that they tracked,” says Brownback.
“I think we’ve got a series of opportunities and the beauty about it in Kansas it’s not us having to hype something that’s not a big deal, it’s us having to tell people about something that is already a big deal but that they don’t know about it.”
Committee members from Valley Center, Hays, Great Bend and other cities will take part in their first meeting Thursday in Topeka. Tourism is the third largest industry in Kansas with a total economic impact of more than $5 billion.