At its annual meeting, Visit Wichita celebrated 39 years as the city’s destination marketing organization by sharing highlights from 2018 and focus areas for 2019.
In 2018, more than six million people visited Wichita, contributing more than $1.1 billion in economic impact to the greater Wichita area and supporting more than 12,500 jobs. Visit Wichita hosted 536 meetings, conventions and events, accounting for nearly $53 million of economic impact alone.
“Wichita is a must-visit destination in the Midwest, and tourism to the city is an economic driver for the area, bringing in total more than $1.1 billion annually in the Wichita MSA for the fifth year in a row,” said Visit Wichita President and CEO Susie Santo.
In 2019, Visit Wichita is looking forward to hosting more than 14,000 bowlers during the USBC Women’s Championships, thousands of basketball fans and national media attention for The Basketball Tournament featuring The Aftershocks – a team made up of former Wichita State men’s basketball players – and the best youth football players in the country for the Pro Football Hall of Fame World Youth Championships.
Also In 2019, Visit Wichita will host two groups bringing approximately 100 journalists to Wichita – the Professional Outdoor Media Association and Midwest Travel Journalists Association.
Additionally, the organization will welcome back members of the Meeting Planner Advisory Council (MPAC), a group of national and regional meeting planners who provided feedback on what resonates well with planners who are selecting cities for future events.
At its annual meeting, Visit Wichita announced Tourism Awards to partners who contributed significantly to hospitality and tourism in the Wichita area in 2018:
- Innkeeper of the Year recognizes hoteliers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty with clients, Visit Wichita and the community. The team at Drury Plaza Hotel Broadview took home this award for their outstanding efforts throughout the year. From hosting the Professional Fraternity Association and soon the Midwest Travel Journalists Association and more, Drury has gone above and beyond to make visitors feel at home and have been responsive to the needs of these organizations.
- Destination Promotion acknowledges an individual, attraction or company that has made outstanding efforts to promote Wichita. Botanica Wichita received the honor in recognition for being a four-season outdoor attraction whose Illuminations was recently voted by USA Today readers as the sixth best botanical garden holiday light display in the country. This display and projects like the Carousel Gardens, the amazing Nature Connects and The Alexander Bee House help promote Wichita as a destination.
- Corporate Partnership goes to an organization that has done outstanding work in promoting the tourism industry in partnership with Visit Wichita. Visit Wichita recognized the Aero Plains Brewing team for creating an authentic experience that helps showcase the history of Wichita and our city’s unique craft brewing culture. They have hosted offsites and worked with travel writers who constantly share about their positive experience at Aero Plains Brewing.
- Hometown Hero honors an organization or individual who was instrumental in assisting the sales team in bringing a meeting or event to Wichita. Daryl C. Lutz, county engineer and public works director for Butler County, helped bring the National Association of County Engineers Annual Meeting and Management & Technical Conference to Wichita. It will be held April 14-18 of this year. He is a true Hometown Hero in his unyielding efforts to showcase Wichita to his colleagues. Daryl is proud of his community and we are proud of his efforts to bring his event home.
- The Distinguished Service award recognizes an individual who has significantly given of their time in making Wichita a better place for visitors and residents. This year’s recipient is Terry Newman. Not only did Newman serve an extended time period as Chair of the Board, he was deeply involved in the organization’s successes during his tenure. He is an advocate of Wichita and highly involved in many community activities and organizations. His efforts to assist Visit Wichita in putting Wichita on the map, specifically as a sports city, and his dedication to the bureau is appreciated.
“Our partnerships with local tourism professionals, such as the outstanding partners highlighted with awards this year, make Wichita a unique and memorable Midwest destination,” said Santo. “They are a source of pride for us and they help to make it possible to not only market our great city to visitors, but to bring them in and experience Wichita for themselves.”
About Visit Wichita
Visit Wichita markets the Greater Wichita area and advocates for the city as a destination, increasing travel and tourism as a key economic driver for the city, county, region and state. Visit Wichita is led by president and CEO Susie Santo, and in 2017 travel and tourism contributed more than $1.1 billion in economic impact to the greater Wichita area.