Kansas Destination Specialist (KDS)

Why Should Your Entire Staff Be Kansas Destination Specialist (KDS) Certified?

What is the KDS?

KDS is a certification program designed to familiarize and further one’s knowledge of the State of Kansas with a focus on tourism, marketing and leadership! This certification process and program is provided by the Travel Industry Association of Kansas (TIAK).

Why does it help?

TIAK is the primary advocate and voice for the Kansas travel industry which represents a diverse membership of Kansas travel destinations, accommodations, transportation, attractions, and various supporting businesses. Along with Kansas Tourism and TIAK, we work together to provide support to over 84,000 jobs and many organizations within the hospitality industry. This leading education and professional development benefits incoming visitors to our state by providing educated, up-to-date, aware, and engaged professionals working in the industry!

I’m new to this…how do I start?

First, make sure your organization is a member of TIAK. The membership forms are here: https://tiak.org/tiak-membership/join-tiak/ There are a few different types of membership options and it opens the door for educational opportunities, legislative resources and services, and gives you access to the leading network for Kansas Tourism. As a member, you receive points for attending events such as Destination Statehouse, the Kansas Tourism Conference, and seminars and webinars.

Next, you need to know that the deadline for submissions is SEPTEMBER 15, 2023!!!

Check https://tiak.org/resources/kds/ for the list of how many points you have so far, so you know what you need for completion. If your name is highlighted in red—you are almost there and probably just need to complete those book reports. If your name is in green—you are close to having 25 points. Knowing where you are in the process will help you decide if you can make it happen by the deadline.

Anything you have completed since last year’s deadline of Sept. 17, 2022 can still be submitted.

All TIAK educational offerings you register for and attend automatically give you points without you needing to complete any follow-up paperwork. Any other educational offering must be submitted on the Education Session Follow-up Form.

There is a recommended book list, but it is hard to keep up-to-date with all the new books being published. If you have a book that falls into one of the three categories (Kansas, Leadership, Marketing) and think it is a great option then send an email to Sally Fuller at tourism@cityofliberal.org with a brief synopsis to get it approved for use.

Now’s the time to get to work and submit your KDS items so Sally can continue to add points to the list – or you can email her with any questions or concerns! REMEMBER YOU MUST HAVE EVERYTHING DONE BY SEPTEMBER 15, 2023!!!

I’m already certified in KDS…. what do I need to know about renewal?

First you need to know that renewals are required on even numbered years. (So, 2023 is NOT a renewal year!)

Only two of the listed requirements are needed for renewal. If you attend the annual Kansas Tourism Conference, then you already have one requirement met. Often people will renew without even trying if they attend the travel industry events such as Destination Statehouse during the year.

If you have not completed your requirements by early August, you’ll be getting an email to remind you to do so.

If you have a question you do not see covered, email Sally Fuller at tourism@cityofliberal.org or call 620-626-0170.

When will I receive my certification?

We do ask that you attend the Kansas Tourism Conference to receive your designation!! This year the KTC is October 16-18, 2023 in Dodge City!! We want to see you on stage at the banquet to make you an official Kansas Destination Specialist! This is a wonderful way to recognize your hard work and dedication to not only the State of Kansas, but to your community and role in this vital industry!