Kansas Tourism Industry members,
We are gearing up to have a very long and completely unprecedented next few weeks. We will continue to provide you with support however we can, but as you may have heard non-essential state employees will be on administrative leave for two weeks starting on Monday, March 23. We are still figuring out what that looks like for our tourism staff, but we will keep you updated. The COVID-19 situation is rapidly evolving across the country and we are doing our best to monitor the effects in Kansas.
Updates You Should Know
- The Goodland and Belle Plaine Travel Centers are currently closed. While the TICs won't be staffed, Travel Guides will continue to be displayed and restocked
- We support local decisions to close community TICs as needed. Many community TICs have already closed and we expect to see more as the week progresses.
- The Heartland Byways Conference is postponed. We are actively looking to reschedule at the same venue. Please continue to check the Heartland Byways Conference page for more information.
- The Kansas Lottery has announced the suspension of all state-owned casino gaming starting end of business on March 17, 2020, until at least March 30, 2020.
- The four casinos in Kansas with state-owned gaming are the Hollywood Casino in Kansas City, Kansas Crossing in Pittsburg, Kansas Star in Mulvane and Boot Hill Casino in Dodge City.
- The Kansas Department of Commerce is working closely with the Kansas Department of Emergency Management to complete the required steps for requesting an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Declaration. Learn more at the Kansas Department of Commerce.
- Some Wildlife, Parks and Tourism facilities have adjusted operating hours or may be closed to public visitation.
- Last week we released a traveler-friendly COVID-19 page on TravelKS.com. We will continue to update as the situation evolves.
Things You Can Do
- STR released a webinar on "Impact of COVID-19 outbreak on the U.S. Hotel Industry." STR breaks down current events (including the cycles already seen in China and Italy) and compares to historical events (like September 11, 2001 and the 2009 recession). The foreseeable outlook they share for the hotel industry is bleak, but it's good statistical information to have on hand. STR will continue to do weekly webinars for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak.
- US Travel has released a report from Tourism Economics on COVID 19 impact on the US Travel industry. I am still sorting through the report but the biggest point so far…. Travel industry losses will far exceed that of any other sector. This is six times the impact of 9/11.
- Continue to let us know the impact of cancellations and lost business in your community.
- Continue to update events on the TravelKS.com websites as more cancellations or reschedulings roll in.
- Continue to monitor your social media postings and website updates during this time. If there is a question about whether something is appropriate for the circumstances, please air on the side of caution.
- Suggested Resources for you to share:
Please continue to reach out to us as we all start to chart these waters together.
Director of Tourism
Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism
Office Phone: 785-296-3870
Work Mobile: 785-250-8253