There are good reasons to argue that Kansas should spend more promoting itself to tourists and building its $5.6 billion tourism industry. This just isn’t a very good time to make the argument, which is why the interim legislative Joint Committee on Economic Development recently declined to endorse a bill that would beef up the state’s $4 million annual tourism budget by $2 million a year and set up a new agency to market Kansas attractions. “My apologies to the tourism industry,” Chairwoman Karin Brownlee, R-Olathe, said after the panel voted against advancing the bill. One good thing came of the discussion, though: the panel’s stated support for Commerce Secretary David Kerr’s offer to better emphasize tourism by making the state’s tourism director a deputy secretary who reports to Kerr.
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