tourism

Sean Sandefur

Click through the slideshow above for the full survey results

The results of a regional survey centered around Wichita’s future branding were revealed Monday night at the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation office. 

Mysid / Wikimedia Commons

How would you describe Wichita to a friend from Michigan? To a student from Zimbabwe? To a business looking to relocate from Connecticut? In essence, what makes Wichita Wichita?

That's what city leaders want to know, and what they want your help discovering.

Wichita's City Council voted 7-0 yesterday to approve a new hotel tax to finance efforts to promote tourism and attract large events.

The 2.75 percent tax will apply for guests at hotels with more than 50 rooms.

The levy is expected to generate about 2 1/2- to- 3 million dollars a year.

The Council also approved the establishment of a tourism business improvement district yesterday.

Wichita officials say current promotional funding was growing slowly, and the city is facing strong competition from other cities to attract conventions and tourists.

In 2012 the state of Kansas ranked in the bottom five for tourism, to no one’s surprise hereabouts.

Carla Eckels / KMUW

Wichita’s convention business drives about $45 million a year to the city’s economy. It’s a competitive business, marketing the city and promoting tourism.

Go Wichita Convention and Visitors Bureau got a new leader late last year, Susie Santo, who is excited about promoting Wichita to the rest of the country.

Santo grew up in Salina, is a graduate of the University of Kansas and spent the last two decades in Los Angeles. She says she moved back to Wichita in August of 2012 for a couple of reasons.

jimmywayne / flickr Creative Commons

State officials say travel and tourism in Kansas generated almost $8 billion in 2011. Becky Blake, the state director of tourism, says 32 million people visited Kansas in 2011 -- and each visitor spent about $236.

TravelKS / flickr Creative Commons

Abilene, Kan., has been recognized by Smithsonian Magazine as one of the 20 best small towns to visit. The article, titled “The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2013” appears in Smithsonian Magazine’s April issue.

Abilene, which is just east of Salina off of highway 70 and has a population of 6,800, comes in at number 17 and is featured among well-known small towns like Gettysburg, Penn. and Sausalito, Calif. 

Jeff Slater / Flickr

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.