President’s Article June 2021

Doesn’t time fly by? It seems like it was just yesterday that we met in Salina at Blue Skye Brewery before a great educational event. The next thing we know, it will be October before we can blink.

But as we come to the half-way mark of this post-pandemic year, I think it is important to look back and see just how far we have come.

TIAK has long fought for the travel industry and our association to have a “seat at the table.” This objective has been the fundamental building block of TIAK’s advocacy efforts for more than a decade and supports the basic principles of the former KTI Initiative.

While falling just short of achieving its primary goal, the KTI Initiative did start TIAK along the path we find ourselves on today. I want to thank the decades of TIAK leaders that started us on this journey.

Recapping what has been accomplished in just the past ten months should shed some light on our great aspiration to “have a seat at the table.” First, we were supportive of and testified on behalf of ERO 48, a successful move to bring Kansas Tourism back to the resources available within the Kansas Department of Commerce.

Also, during the past legislative session, we opposed a bill that would financially injury our industry and the state economy. We did this how we do it best – by encouraging our members to contact their elected officials at a local level having one-on-one conversations.

Another bill passed this year, which formalized the collection of third-party transient housing bed tax. This will substantially fill the divide between Air B&Bs, CVBs and our hotels. Both of these pieces of legislation moved through the session with input from TIAK, but it was done in a manner to risk as little political capital as possible.

More recently, and mentioned in my last column, TIAK signed on to a letter with hundreds of additional organizations and businesses from across the state. This letter urged the governor to reconsider the continued additional unemployment benefits. TIAK was glad to have a literal seat at the table.

To the long-time leaders of TIAK: Donna Price, Jerry Cook, Kevin Fern, Bridgette Jobe, Roger Hrabe, Sylvia Rice, Susan Barnes and the many others, I want to thank you for your years of leadership and guidance; and more importantly for allowing me to represent TIAK at that table. I did my best to make you proud.

I look forward to seeing everyone in Liberal this October and God bless.

Jim Zaleski, TIAK President
Serving at the pleasure of the membership