President’s Article December 2021

Wow, how fast a year flies by. I mean like ZOOM© and it’s gone!

As most final President’s Reports go, I want to give everyone a big thank you for allowing me to serve as your board leader this year. I have no doubt that we are in wonderful hands with Julie Roller moving in, and I look forward to working with her throughout 2022.

TIAK has a wonderful future, both financially and with incoming leadership. These past two years we were able to make it through the pandemic and NOT touch any cash reserves to make up for operating expenses. Thank you to Bright & Carpenter for managing our association so well.

Additionally, our partnership with State Tourism could not be stronger. Bridgette Jobe and her team continue to move forward in great strides, also making the most out of the budget they have.

All of this coupled with what will most likely be the most dynamic leadership coming out of the Kansas Department of Commerce, presents a bright future for us here in Kansas. New business is being attracted at historical numbers, and our occupancy is at or near 2019 numbers. ALL good news for us here in Kansas.

I am also confident that the future of travel in general looks bright. We have seen good recovery numbers so far and forecasts of strong return-to-travel trends.

However, we still need to stay vigilant, flexible, and creative. The lack of available workers is trickling down, and it continues to hit the service industry right where it hurts. To anyone DMO director that hasn’t gotten in line for ARPA dollars for your city and/or county, now is the time. It’s up to you to make sure the travel and tourism industry gets those funds specifically earmarked in the ARPA programs.

TIAK is the voice of the hospitality industry in Kansas, and we must lead by example at every opportunity. We need to strife for “live and in person” large meetings, local events, or even just catching up over a cup of coffee. We collectively cannot spend millions of dollars marketing travel and tourism unless we ourselves are ready to be travelers. Remember, virtual means NO HEADS IN BEDS. Let’s not allow technology to push us into accepting the path of least resistance and lazily accept staying home instead of venturing out.

So as my last pitch as president, I urge you to attend, in-person, Destination Statehouse on February 9 in Topeka. Join us as Kansas Tourism and TIAK take over the Statehouse!

Thank you again for allowing me to serve as your president this past year, and I look forward to the continued growth and success of TIAK…To The Stars.

By Jim Zaleski
Serving at the Pleasure of the Membership