Volume 15, Issue 12 | December 2020
TIAK Talk is published monthly for members of the Travel Industry Association of Kansas.
By Kelly Peetoom

Happy Holidays Kansas Travel Partners,

We did it. We survived what will be remembered as one of the worst years for an entire nation. For the tourism industry, the affects of this pandemic will not only be long-lasting, but some possibly permanent. 

As we progress into the new year, however, let us remember our friends and colleagues that have suffered most. Most of us are involved in TIAK because we want to be educated, influence change, and make a difference. Well, now is the time to step up. Kansas Tourism needs you more than ever. 

The recovery process may take years and big changes. People will travel differently, the meeting process may be altered, and business travelers may choose to utilize technology more than before. If we want the future to be favorable for our industry, we need to be heard today.

  • If you aren't already, get involved with TIAK.
  • Meet with your local government officials and tell our tourism story.
  • Develop a strong CVB Board that can communicate that story to other industries.
  • Utilize the U.S. Travel Association as a national resource.
  • Get to know you fellow DMO’s on the local, state, and national levels.

Finally, I would like to thank all of you for your support during my time as your association president. Especially Marlee, Natalie, Amy, Bridgette, and the entire Executive Committee. This has been an experience I will never forget.

It might be a long road back to "normal", but together we can achieve our goals.
2021 Destination Statehouse
Goes Virtual

With COVID numbers continuing to rise and the uncertainty surrounding the ability to hold events at the Statehouse, the TIAK leadership decided it would be best to move Destination Statehouse to a virtual platform this year.

We will use the Tourism Huddle time in both January and February to focus on making our voices heard in Topeka. Mark your calendars for January 13 and February 10. Registration information coming soon.
Governor Kelly Appoints New Lt. Governor, KDOL Acting Secretary

Governor Laura Kelly announced on December 14 her intention to appoint David Toland, Secretary for the Kansas Department of Commerce, to become her Lieutenant Governor when current Lieutenant Governor Lynn Rogers vacates the position in January. The Lieutenant Governor vacancy was initiated by Governor Kelly’s decision to appoint Lieutenant Governor Lynn Rogers to become the Kansas State Treasurer. Secretary Toland will be sworn in as Lieutenant Governor in January. He will continue to serve as Commerce Secretary while taking on the duties of the Lieutenant Governor. Read more.

Today Governor Kelly also announced Deputy Secretary of the Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL), Brett Flachsbarth, as the Acting Secretary of Labor. He will serve as Acting Secretary of Labor until Governor Kelly announces the permanent Secretary. Read more.
Legislative Committee Chairs Announced

House leadership announced yesterday its committee structure for the upcoming legislative session along with leadership and membership of those committees. The structure will include two new committees: Water and Redistricting. Read more.

Senate leadership also announced their committee chairs last week. Like the House, there are two additional committees as a result of reorganization. Read more.
Executive Order Moving Tourism to Commerce

Earlier this month, the TIAK Executive Committee and TIAK Board have met with Brad Loveless, Secretary of KDWPT, and David Toland, Secretary of Commerce. The Governor, along with tourism industry partners, has introduced the idea of moving the Division of Tourism back to the Kansas Department of Commerce.  After several discussions, with TIAK members asking the hard questions, the TIAK Board voted to endorse the idea and support the move of the Division of Tourism back to the Department of Commerce.  

First and foremost, we want stability for the Division of Tourism-we do not support a constant shift between agencies. Second, we want the Division of Tourism to be a prominent and respected addition to the Department of Commerce. After discussions with the secretaries of both agencies, we believe there is more opportunity for stability, funding and growth within the Department of Commerce. The Division of Tourism will be a direct report to the Secretary of Commerce and will be at the table for important economic discussions. With the Division of Tourism housed at Commerce, there are many economic development, rural development and marketing promotion opportunities that will avail themselves and help proactively position tourism. The current pandemic has shown the value of tourism to the Kansas economy. For the state to fully emerge from this recession, we must be positioned to grow and create jobs in all corners of Kansas. 

We anticipate the Governor to introduce an Executive Order during the 2021 Legislative Session. If the legislature does not reject the EO, the move will happen on July 1, 2021.
Travel Relief Secured

U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow issued the following statement yesterday praising the coronavirus relief legislation passed by Congress, which contains numerous provisions championed by the struggling travel and tourism industry to help bring back economic activity and jobs:

“Seeing this bill make it across the finish line is a huge relief after months of struggle. This legislation is a lifeline for businesses and workers who have been hanging on by a thread. More than four million travel jobs have been lost this year, and this package includes long-needed provisions to help employers keep their lights on—a second draw on PPP funds for the hardest-hit businesses, eligibility for non-profit destination marketing organizations, assistance to airports and concessionaires as well as airlines, and enhancements to the Employee Retention Tax Credit, among many others.
U.S. Opposes California Travel Ban

President Donald Trump's administration filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this month siding with Texas' lawsuit against California's state-funded travel ban to Kansas and 10 other states claiming it is unconstitutional.

The travel ban is in response to a 2016 law that prevents public universities from denying funds or campus resources to religious groups, which California says could result in discrimination.

Earlier this year, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt also filed a brief with the high court urging the Texas lawsuit to proceed. The court has not decided whether to hear the case.
November 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 65% property participation & 77% hotel room participation in November.


Legislative Session Begins
January 11

Virtual Destination Statehouse
January 13, February 10

TIAK Committee Meetings
January 7, March 11

TIAK Board Meetings
February 4, April 8

Kansas Tourism Conference
October 18-20, Liberal
October 2022, Wichita
October 2023, Dodge City

Coupon code: TravelKS

January 7

January 14

January 21

January 28