President’s Article August 2021

I don’t know about you, but ‘m looking at my calendar with some new inspiration these days. I have a special circle around October 18-20, of course, as I can’t to see many of you at the Kansas Tourism Conference in Liberal. But even beyond TIAK, I’m excited about conferences in Nashville, Michigan and Vegas, which are all (still) planned before the end of the year.

This is a renewed feeling to be looking at travel in the not-so-distant future. However, two of the biggest events have both issued a vaccination or negative test mandate, a controversial topic to say the least.

Let me be clear, I am not suggesting anyone should or shouldn’t do anything. In fact, I recently responded to a colleague in a similar conversation that I do not want to mix politics with logic, no matter what side of the situation they wished to display their Google-found knowledge.

But it did make me think about these new cards we’ve been dealt. If we expect to participate in this new world, we better be ready to make some hard decisions on just how we are going to play our hand. Tourism is coming back, and we better be ready to get in the game or be left on the sidelines.

This might mean carrying a card, getting that test the day before travel, or even something as simple as wearing a mask on the plane. The point I am trying to get across is that the plane is going to leave with or without you. If you aren’t on it, your voice won’t be heard, even if through a muffled mask.

No matter what your opinion is, I think it is possibly more important for us as travel professionals to get back to traveling than it is for the public. We cannot expect to deliver an experience-based product if we don’t get out there and experience it ourselves.

So, mount up, mask up, do whatever it takes. I hope you join me in playing the cards we’ve been dealt, because folding isn’t an option in this game. See you all soon.

Jim Zaleski, TIAK President

Serving at the pleasure of the membership