Volume 20, Issue 11 | January 2023

Published monthly for members of the Travel Industry Association of Kansas.


By Melissa Dixon

Hays Convention & Visitors Bureau

Get out and explore in 2023!

How are your New Year plans and goals going? As the year is getting underway, I am putting plans in place to get our staff out and about in our city – and beyond – in 2023. As a group, we are seeing some new places for the first time (Hello, axe-throwing!) and learning new things about old favorites.

We have already toured our local RV Park, Creek Side Resort, which has everything from a dog park and gym facilities to an outdoor movie theatre. The resort now collects Transient Guest Tax because of new cabins on the property, making them a different level of tourism partner. When the hot tubs are installed, I may be looking at a Hays staycation!

I want to be sure our staff members are not only experts on all things Hays, but also ready to make recommendations for great places “down the road.” I see trips to Castle Rock, Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park, and Boot Hill Museum in our future. I truly believe that the best ideas come when you get out of the office and let your brain absorb all the exciting elements of a place where it’s never been.

In the spirit of getting OUT from behind our desks, I’m looking forward to seeing many of you at Destination Statehouse in Topeka on February 8! It will be a great opportunity to catch up with legislators and tourism professionals alike. Be ready to lunch with legislators and to showcase “The Best of Kansas” at our evening event at The Beacon.

Keep exploring!


Congratulations to Visit Manhattan's Karen Hibbard on her upcoming retirement!

Join the Manhattan area in celebrating with her.

Freedom's Frontier receives 15-year extension as landmark NHA legislation becomes law

By Johnny Szlauderbach

President Biden signed the National Heritage Area Act (S. 1942) into law, reauthorizing Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area for another 15 years and supporting the history of the Civil War along the Missouri-Kansas border. Sponsored by Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), the bill guarantees property, hunting and fishing rights and enables Freedom's Frontier to continue fostering economic development in the region through its long-term support of local history museums and heritage areas. Read more.

Not Too Late to Register!

We're only days away from TIAK's first order of business: Destination Statehouse.

Join us on February 8 as we connect travel leaders from across the state and join forces to educate our lawmakers as to why travel matters in Kansas. Be sure to come hungry, too. Iron Rail Brewing is catering lunch, followed by a tasty treat from Visit Wichita.

The Destination Statehouse event page has all the information you need to play your day of advocacy in Topeka.


Last Call for Local Libations

We are trying something new this year at Destination Statehouse. Share your local libations of beer, wine, or liquor with legislators and attendees at the evening reception on February 8th.

Connect with travel leaders from around the state and show off your local brewery, distillery, or vineyard's finest at the same time.

Be sure to let us know what you're bringing and how much by emailing the TIAK office no later than Friday, January 27th.

Thirty-one Kansas cities bumped from 'urban' in Census report

The Sunflower State Journal reported that the rural population in Kansas grew by more than 10% during the last decade after about 30 small cities lost their "urban" classification according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The U.S. Census Bureau last week released a new list of cities considered "urban" based on new criteria that effectively increased the "rural" population in Kansas. The new definitions meant that 31 small Kansas towns lost their "urban" status, meaning they will face new challenges for getting federal government funding. Read more here.

Key Analytics Webinar Recording

Sean Dixon, Visit Topeka, provided a webinar on Key Analytics: How to Quantify Data and Present it to Stakeholders. Because it is often said that "Data is King," the webinar discussed how to source and aggregate multiple data sources and present them to community stakeholders and partners.

Click here to view the webinar recording.

SAVE THE DATE! Destination Capitol Hill

Destination Capitol Hill (DCH) is the U.S. travel industry's premier legislative fly-in. The event brings travel leaders from across the country together to educate policymakers about the power of travel. The program combines a legislative day on Capitol Hill with advocacy training, guest speakers and peer-to-peer networking. DCH provides delegates with an opportunity to learn about upcoming legislation that impacts travel, network with peers and meet with members of Congress to stress the importance of travel as an economic driver. 

Save the date: Join us for our Destination Capitol Hill 2023 on April 18-19. Registration coming soon.

December 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:

Monthly and YTD Comparisons

Kansas had 61% property participation and 76% hotel room participation in December.

The U.S. Travel Association has published its latest Monthly Data Report, exclusively for U.S. Travel members. Here are key highlights from November's report (there was no December report):

  • Travel spending moderated a bit in October after reaching a pandemic high in September but still remains positive at 3% above 2019 levels.

  • Strong headwinds continue to prevent international inbound’s travel recovery. Overseas arrivals remained 30% below 2019 levels in October.

  • Despite increasing airfares, air passenger volume continues to steadily improve and was 5% below 2019 levels in October.

  • Nearly eight in 10 current business travelers expect to attend a conference, convention or trade show in the next six months—similar but slightly down from Q2 2022.

  • Just over half of American travelers believe they will make leisure travel a high spending priority in the next three months—a 10-month low.


The new Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum - opening in 2023 - honors Earhart's aviation legacy and inspires all generations in the pursuit of flight. Welcome to TIAK!


Tourism Huddle

February is canceled

TIAK Board Meetings

February 9, April 13, June 15, August 10, October 16, December 14

TIAK Executive Committee Meetings

January 5, March 9, June 14, July 13, September 14, November 9


Destination Capitol Hill

April 18-19, 2023

Registration coming soon