Susie Santo: Be proud of things that make Wichita great

03/01/2014 9:18 AM

03/02/2014 7:59 AM

What a great time to be a Wichitan.

We proudly watched our Shockers battle it out in Atlanta last year and now are witnessing another historic season. You can feel the momentum as Shocker mania sweeps over the city, state and nation.

At Go Wichita, we feel the Shocker excitement and the momentum of the downtown revitalization efforts and are thrilled about the progress on the new airport terminal. We are honored to have the privilege of marketing our great city to visitors each and every day.

Visitors to Wichita play an important economic role. They spend nearly $1 billion in our community annually, generating $89 million in taxes that support both local and statewide initiatives. Our goal is to increase the number of visitors and the amount of money they spend, which benefits the entire community.

2013 was a banner year for Go Wichita. We helped secure the 2019 United States Bowling Congress Women’s Championship, one of the largest events ever, which will bring $14 million in economic impact to Wichita.

While we secure events and conventions many years in advance, it is imperative that we work to have the appropriate convention facilities that are expected today and in the future.

We conducted an in-depth study to understand the potential and needs. It showed we have the capability to generate an additional $30 million in annual economic output – new revenue worth pursuing. We learned that meeting planners around the nation are interested in coming to Wichita if we had appropriate facilities.

Now that we have a clear understanding of our potential to drive conventions, with an industry standard facility, we have started a similar study in regard to the performing arts. In partnership with the Arts Council, Music Theatre of Wichita, Wichita Grand Opera, and the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, we want to understand the potential for the performing arts.

The final phase of this study is identifying the cost and the benefit for Wichita. What is the best long-term solution for Wichita? This study will allow us to ask the hard questions and provide data for our city leaders to help in the long-range planning of our city.

In 2013, we also launched a year-long visitor profile study to learn more about why people come to Wichita and what they experience while they are here. Ninety-five percent ranked the top two boxes, when asked how satisfied they were with their experience in Wichita. Ninety-eight percent said they would return to Wichita. We sure have a lot to be proud of as a city.

Yes, tourism is an industry all about fun. But Go Wichita is very serious about the economic impact that nearly $1 billion brings to the city. So when you’re browsing to give your out-of-town friends and family a great experience, be proud of the things that make our city great.

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