Kansas Celebrates Tourism Week

Kansas Tourism Week will kick off on May 4 with the 2002 Kansas Sampler Festival in Independence, followed by a week of activities in Kansas communities and at the state’s Travel Information Centers.

Research from the Travel Industry of America shows that tourism has an economic impact to Kansas of $3.4 billion a year. Governor Bill Graves has designated May 4-12 as Kansas Tourism Week to recognize travel and tourism as a major industry in Kansas. The recognition coincides with National Tourism Week.

During Kansas Tourism Week, visitors to any of the state’s three Travel Information Centers (TICs) may register to win free weekend travel packages.

The TICs will also be hosting communities and attractions from around Kansas during the week. In addition, Miss Kansas Kimberly Grice will appear at the Travel Information Centers on the following dates and times:

May 6 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Kansas City Travel Information Center (I-70 westbound at milepost 415)

May 7 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Belle Plaine Travel Information Center (I-35 Kansas Turnpike between mileposts 25 & 26)

May 8 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Goodland Travel Information Center (I-70 eastbound at milepost 7)

Miss Kansas will also appear at the 2002 Kansas Sampler Festival on May 4 from 10:00 a.m-12:00 p.m. and will perform from 11:00-11:15 a.m. The Kansas Sampler Festival is being held at Riverside Park in Independence from 10:00

a.m.-5:00 p.m. on May 4 and from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. on May 5. The Travel & Tourism Development Division of the Kansas Department of Commerce & Housing (KDOC&H) will exhibit at the Kansas Sampler Festival, along with more than 150 Kansas communities that use the event to showcase what there is to see and do in Kansas. For more information on the Kansas Sampler Festival, call 1-800-882-3606 or visit www.kansassamplerfestival.com.

Other Tourism Week events being held in communities throughout Kansas include the following:


The Anthony Chamber of Commerce will sponsor a Tourism Parade on May 6 from 9:00-9:30 a.m. in the city’s historic downtown.


The Manhattan Convention & Visitors Bureau will host "Be a Tourist in Your Own Town," which will include a chance to win prizes by visiting attractions/events. Many businesses and attractions are offering special activities, discounts, extended hours, and free gifts for visitors to "rediscover" Manhattan’s treasures during Kansas Tourism Week.


The National Agricultural Center & Hall of Fame in Bonner Springs will offer discount admission during Kansas Tourism Week.


The Overland Park Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Overland Park City Council are hosting a special recognition ceremony honoring Mayor Ed Eilert and former City Manager Don Pipes for their leadership at 11:30 a.m. on May 9 at New Theatre Restaurant. The Convention & Visitors Bureau will hold its annual Pancake Breakfast at the Overland Park Arboretum on May 11 at 8:00 a.m. The event also includes a petting zoo and a plant sale.


The Newton Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau will host a "lunch and learn" series featuring a different Newton attraction each day. The series will include a box lunch at 12:00 p.m., followed by a presentation and tour of each facility.


The Olathe Chamber of Commerce is encouraging its residents to be "tourists in your own city!" To emphasize the point, the Chamber’s Convention & Visitors Bureau is giving away forty $50 hotel vouchers in drawings across Olathe through civic organizations and at Chamber events.


The Lawrence Convention & Visitors Bureau will sponsor a photo contest for area youth, and amateur and professional photographers. Entries will be on display beginning May 9 at the Lawrence Visitor Information Center. Select entries may be used in the 2002-03 Lawrence Visitors Guide. KLZR 105.9 radio will air a daily Lawrence trivia question during the morning show. The first correct caller will win a Lawrence prize package.


May 4 and May 5 will be Kansas Free Park Entrance Days, sponsored by Kansas Wildlife & Parks. For two days, boaters, anglers, and day campers will have free access to Kansas state parks. Overnight camping fees are not included.


May 4 is also the date of the second annual OKKids Day. Organized by the Kansas Wildscape Foundation, a nonprofit foundation focused on providing outdoor recreational opportunities in Kansas, OKKids Day is designed to encourage youth to spend more time outdoors. For more information, including event site locations, visit www.kansaswildscape.com, or call (866) OKKIDS toll free.

To download a complete list of Kansas community events, For more information on Kansas Tourism Week or Tourism Week activities, contact the Travel & Tourism Division of the KDOC&H at (785) 296-5403, e-mail travtour@-kansascommerce.com, or visit www.kansascommerce.com.

The KDOC&H is the state’s lead economic development organization, responsible for ensuring economic opportunities for Kansans.