Gov. Sam Brownback was in Wichita on Wednesday to kick off the state’s 2014 marketing campaign to promote Kansas tourism, telling a crowd of about 200 people at Exploration Place, “There’s no place like Kansas.”
“The tourism industry is big business, and we have a great state and a great state to promote and tell the world about,” Brownback said.
“Among the list of a few great things to see in this state is this: About three months ago the Flint Hills was listed as one of the top seven places in the world to see a sunset. Right up there with French Polynesia and Greece. That’s good company.”
On Wednesday, the main hallway of Exploration Place was filled with booths representing various places and events in Kansas. There was a woman dressed up as a pancake, representing the International Pancake Day Race between Olney, England, and Liberal; a person dressed up as an elephant from the Lee Richardson Zoo in Garden City; cowboys and lawmen from Dodge City; and American Indians in regalia promoting the Mid-America All-Indian Center and American Indian Festival in Wichita.
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The Kansas Sampler Foundation in Inman had a booth promoting places to see and go in Kansas, as did Lecompton, which promoted the town as the birthplace of the Civil War.
More than 32 million people visit Kansas annually, generating $8 billion in expenditures, according to a news release from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.
The “There’s No Place Like Kansas” campaign includes print ads in Family Circle, Good Housekeeping, Midwest Living and O magazine showing scenic places and events in the state. Television spots with aerial and ground-based video will promote places in Kansas – such as Wilson Lake, Monument Rocks, downtown Fort Scott, the Wichita skyline, Massachusetts Street in Lawrence and a rodeo in Dodge City.
Logan Mize, a Clearwater native with Nashville ties, will lend his voice and original soundtrack, “Sunflowers,” to the promotional campaign. Mize performed some of his songs Wednesday at Exploration Place.
“Kansas is a special place, and you should visit and go to many places,” Brownback said. “Great unexpected experiences await you around the corners of this state.
“I have been to all 105 counties as governor, and every one of them has something special and is unique and different. It is one of those places you can look at in history or in the present and you say, ‘That is really amazing to see.’ ”
Brownback highlighted the Symphony in the Flint Hills, which regularly sells out each year; Strataca-Kansas Underground Salt Museum in Hutchinson; the Bleeding Kansas corridor of eastern Kansas that highlights the territorial period of the state; and the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene.
“Kansas is a special place and we know it,” he said. “Now we have to tell the rest of the world about it.”