Governor Laura Kelly Announces $3.5 Million in New Funding for Kansas Tourism Initiatives


Kansas Tourism to use funds to revitalize and enhance the tourism industry

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TOPEKA – Today, Governor Laura Kelly announced Kansas has received $3.5 million in grant funding from the United States Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to distribute to local partners across the state. These funds will accelerate travel, tourism, and outdoor recreation in the state.

“Kansas’ tourism industry is an economic driver for our state, which is why my administration relocated the State’s Tourism Division to the Department of Commerce last year,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “This $3.5 million will accelerate our efforts to boost travel, tourism, and outdoor recreation across Kansas – improving quality of life for Kansans and growing our economy along the way.”

Kansas will use these funds to inject immediate momentum into the Kansas tourism industry. The $3.5 million will be invested in four strategic areas:

  • $1.5 million for sub-grants to local communities or businesses in the development of new tourism attractions or to enhance existing attractions in the state;
  • $1.25 million for a strong statewide marketing campaign to increase out-of-state visitation;
  • $500,000 for regional video and photography-asset gathering to support state and local marketing efforts;
  • $250,000 for Kansas State Parks to develop glamping – “glamourous camping” – sites at various State Park locations.

“We are using every tool at our disposal to drive new economic growth in Kansas, and tourism is a key part of our approach,” Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland said. “These dollars will go a long way in showcasing all of the amazing features Kansas has to offer, while also supporting our businesses and tourism industry partners statewide.”

All 59 states and territories were invited to apply for these grants to support marketing, infrastructure, workforce and other projects to rejuvenate safe leisure, business, and international travel. Additional state grants are expected to be awarded in coming weeks and months.

“Of the many revelations we’ve realized as a result of this pandemic, none may be more clear to us than the very real value of Kansas’ state parks,” said Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks Secretary Brad Loveless. “This $250,000 investment comes at a perfect time to improve facilities, increase capacity, and to welcome the many who have yet to camp out-of-doors and need a comfortable introduction.”

“Kansas is ripe with opportunity to grow our tourism industry as we emerge from this pandemic,” Kansas Tourism Director Bridgette Jobe said. “Infusing these additional dollars into our statewide marketing and development strategies will bring economic benefits for many years in the future.”

The funds are part of EDA’s $750 million American Rescue Plan Travel, Tourism & Outdoor Recreation program, which provides $510 million in State Tourism grants and $240 million in Competitive Tourism grants that will be awarded to advance the economic recovery and resiliency of communities where the travel, tourism, and outdoor recreation industries were hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The $510 million State Tourism grants – along with today’s reopening of international travel to the United States – are critical steps in the recovery of the travel and tourism sector from the coronavirus pandemic.

For more about EDA’s Travel, Tourism & Outdoor Recreation and other American Rescue Plan programs, please visit: https://www.eda.gov/arpa/.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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