Sunflower Snapshots

Introducing “Sunflower Snapshots” – Your Ultimate Guide to TIAK & Kansas Tourism!

Are you new to the tourism industry or exploring Kansas for the first time? Our new video series, “Sunflower Snapshots,” is here to answer all your questions and help you navigate the vibrant world of Kansas tourism.

Series Overview:
Our 15-part video series covers everything a newcomer needs to know and insider tips for industry professionals. Each video is designed to provide you with the essential knowledge to make the most out of your Kansas Tourism experience.

Watch the first episode now and embark on your Kansas journey!

Join us on this exciting adventure and let “Sunflower Snapshots” be your guide to navigating the tourism world with us in the Sunflower State. Stay tuned for more snapshots!

Kansas Destination Specialist

2024 is a Kansas Destination Specialist (KDS) renewal year for all designees. Even if you received your KDS in 2023, you must complete a renewal in 2024. The good news is that renewal isn’t really difficult and you might even renew without any special effort.

Renewing members must complete at least two of the following requirements:

1. Read and complete one book report form (any category). If you find a book that you want to read and it is not on the list, send me the name and a brief synopsis via email to see if it will work.

2. Visit one Kansas attraction, 50+ miles from home, and submit the visiting attraction form.

3. Obtain one education point. The KS Tourism Conference and Destination Statehouse count for this requirement automatically. Other education sessions require the education session follow-up form to be submitted.

4. Submit four reports from webinars you participated in using the educational session follow-up form.

5. Submit four reports from online articles or industry publications with the appropriate renewal form above.

If you have not completed your requirements by early August, you will be getting an email from me to remind you to do so. If you have a question you do not see covered, email me at or call me at 620-626-0170.

If you have not yet received your KDS and want to work on it this year, here are some details you need to know:

1. The deadline for submissions this year is September 27, 2024.

2. Check for the list of how many points you have so you know what you need for completion. If your name is highlighted in red—you are almost there. Just need 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.

3. Anything you have done since last year’s deadline of Sept. 16, 2023 can still be submitted.

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

5. 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 me an email ( with a brief synopsis to get it approved for use.

Points accumulate as follows: half point for webinar or seminar; one point for half-day session; two points for full-day session; and three points for two or more days.

On the visiting an attraction requirement, you earn one point for each attraction. You may do more than one attraction from the same town but it must be a valid Kansas attraction. Example: Restaurants will only count if it is in a historic building and you are able to tour and learn about the building.

A Look at Lindsborg

TIAK members will soon be heading to Lindsborg on June 15 for an education session featuring award-winning photographer Jim Richardson! This afternoon session will teach you how to use your iPhone to create a visual story.  Explore the tools and learn the skills that will make you an iPhone believer. Registration is now open – learn more here! *This session qualifies for KDS points.

But wait, there’s more! If you’ve never been to Lindsborg, or even if you’re a regular visitor, there is so much to see and do in this small town in Kansas known as Little Sweden! The helpful staff at the Lindsborg Convention & Visitors Bureau have put together a great sampling of attractions, events, restaurants and more for you to explore during your visit! So, come a little early or stay a bit longer and discover all the places they’ve highlighted below!

Pre/Post education session options:
Lindsborg Golf Course, Välkommen & Meadowlark Trails, and Coronado Heights offer great hikes, walks, bike rides, or exercise for the outdoorsy folk. For those who want to stay downtown and explore, we have the Hunt for the Wild Dala, Art in Public Places (a self-guided art walk in Lindsborg), as well as some of the best shopping & galleries: The Good Merchant (“ a destination for inspiration and unique offering”), Small World Gallery (photography, handmade jewelry, art, and more), Trollslända (Scandinavian-inspired toy boutique), Red Barn Studio Museum (working studio of artist Lester Raymer (1907-1991 unique, eclectic, and beautiful creations), Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery (home to the “Van Gogh of the Prairie” with creations hanging in national and international museums), the Clara Hatton Center (gifted artist and administrator with variety of media: bookbinding, calligraphy and lettering, ceramics, metalwork, oil painting, and more), and, of course, Hemslöjd (Scandinavian traditions including watching the artist paint the dala horses with Swedish folkart)! Dining options include the following: Happy Swede Restaurant, Jalisco Mexican Restaurant, Crown & Rye, China, Pizza Hut and Subway—and don’t forget our two coffee shops: The White Peacock and The Blacksmith. The Hemslöjd also offers quad bike rentals for a fun way to explore Lindsborg.

Best of / Facts about Lindsborg:

Broadway RFD—Started in 1959, Broadway RFD is the longest running outdoor theatre in the state of Kansas. Each summer, talented members of the Smoky Valley community and surrounding areas come together to bring the highest quality show to our patrons. People come from far and wide with lawn chairs in tow, to sit in the summer breeze and be immersed in song and dance. This longstanding institution strives to bring great entertainment and exposure of the theatrical arts to the people of the Smoky Valley. Consider coming to one of the four performances of Brigadoon this summer. The show will be held July 21, 22, 28, 29.

Jenny Lind Concert—Since 1965, the Folkets Hus & Parker (Stockholm, Sweden) have appointed a Jenny Lind Scholar who has toured both Sweden and North America. The Jenny Lind Scholarship is awarded to an exciting young soprano who already displays the promise of a future major opera/or concert career. Lindsborg is a stop along the tour that performs at numerous metropolitan venues—quite a unique opportunity for both the tour and the Lindsborg community! This year’s concert will be held on June 26.

Coronado Heights—Needing a quiet place with an expansive view? Coronado Heights, located just a few miles northwest of Lindsborg, gives a wonderful view of the Smoky Valley. Coronado Heights is the southern-most bluff in a series of seven, known as the Smoky Hills. It is believed that Francisco Vasquez de Coronado and his men viewed the prairie from this lookout point 300 feet above the valley floor. Chain mail from Spanish armor was found in the area by Bethany College professor J. A. Udden in 1915. Others have found Spanish coins, a bridle, and lead bars in the valley. Native Dakota sandstone was used to build the castle and picnic areas in 1936 as a project of the Works Progress Administration, creating the perfect opportunity for a picnic, kite flying, hiking, or riding the off-road bike trails. Don’t forget your camera! It is a favorite of photographers and artists alike.

2023 Destination Capitol Hill

Travel professionals from all over the country converged on Washington, D.C. in April to visit their lawmakers. As shared by TIAK’s President, Melissa Dixon, our “representatives have the means to make real change in our industry. We want to make sure the voices of the travel industry are heard so improvements can be made.”

Several travel industry leaders in Kansas joined Dixon for the trip and received a shout-out from Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS). Dixon went on to share the magnitude of individuals involved in her travel, alone:

“Many individuals made my trip possible: hotel staff, airport maintenance workers, restaurant employees, janitors, shuttle drivers, airline pilots and attendants, air traffic controllers, baggage handlers – I could go on and on!

“The travel industry creates countless service jobs. Vacancies in those jobs hurt the visitor experience and cost our communities millions of dollars in visitor spending. We urged our representatives to act on a few items that could make major strides” including:

  • Provide H-2B Cap Relief
  • Lower Visitor Visa Wait Times
  • Advance FAA Priorities

Welcome new member – Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum

We are pleased to introduce one of the newest members to TIAK, the Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum in Atchison, Kansas!

The Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum honors Earhart’s enduring aviation legacy to defy the odds and pursue her dreams of flight and inspire future generations to imagine their own possibilities. The Museum’s centerpiece is Muriel — the world’s last remaining Lockheed Electra 10-E aircraft — identical to the plane Amelia piloted on her fateful round-the-world flight. Muriel is surrounded by a state-of-the-art series of 14 STEM and historic storytelling exhibits to take visitors through Earhart’s extraordinary life.

The museum is a unique hybrid of both history and STEM science. There are 14 interactive exhibits located in the gallery that highlight curriculum standards in both Kansas and Missouri Elementary and Middle Schools. While the museum is specifically marketed to schools, it will have broad appeal to local, out of state, and international visitors as well.

The Atchison Amelia Earhart Foundation, is the governing board and they understand the importance of being engaged in what is going on in the tourism industry and how public policy may affect how the museum operates as an organization. As a private museum, it is necessary to build camaraderie and business connections with fellow organizations, and to stay in the know with current and future public policy.

One of the short-term goals, as this is the inaugural year, is to build an awareness within the travel and tourism community of the Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum and its mission. In the future, the museum hopes to become a fully active partner in TIAK to promote its mission and goals.

To learn more about this new and exciting attraction in the Northeast region of Kansas, click here.


Registration is open for the 2022 Kansas Tourism Conference (KTC) and organizers are pleased to announce Dr. Nels Lindberg as one of the keynote speakers at this year’s conference!

Dr. Nels Lindberg is a KSU alumni known for his expertise in consulting for the beef and cattle industries, while leading the veterinary practice, Animal Medical Center, in Great Bend, KS. He is also a managing partner in Production Animal Consultation, an international based protein consulting firm that consults over 25% of all the cattle on feed in the United States. In addition to building his reputation as a leader in the veterinary industry, Dr Nels is a sought after public speaker on life, leadership and business. He recently launched his first book, “The Ultimate Real World Guide to Hiring and Firing.”

Dr. Nels will help tourism professionals at the KTC “Build & Lead Better Teams” and explain his leadership passion through hard work, and tactical and strategic partnerships in combination with the challenges of the real world. Dr. Nels is a proud Kansan who has learned through challenges, and is determined to build a wonderful life experience for his family, church and community. You won’t want to miss learning about how the small and big pieces in your team can make a huge impact!

Be sure to register for the Kansas Tourism Conference which works to support tourism professionals in developing opportunities for their communities throughout the state. Register at


The KTC (Kansas Tourism Conference) Committee is gearing up for an amazing conference in Wichita this October, and the keynote speakers are ones you won’t want to miss, especially central Kansas native, Jackie Stiles! Kansas knows Jackie from her historical roots in Claflin, KS where she led the county in women’s basketball scoring, then rewrote the NCAA women’s basketball record at Southwest Missouri State, and onto her professional career in the WNBA! Jackie is not only an inspiration to sports lovers, but to anyone who sees value in teamwork, leadership, hard work and passion. She believes in big dreams, enthusiastic effort, and overcoming life’s trials and tribulations with dedication and hope.

Jackie has impacted millions through her love of basketball and coaching, but now she inspires others through camps and professional speaking adventures! You won’t want to miss this women’s basketball Hall of Fame member as she connects with people of all kinds, ages, and all walks of life during Tuesday’s keynote session at the KTC.

Register today for the KTC and learn how Jackie’s legendary work connects to the dedication we have in our own communities and Kansas overall!

Wacky Wichita!

If you’re heading to Wichita in October for the annual tourism conference, make plans to check out the offbeat and wacky things to see and do! Seen through the eyes and exploration of travel writer Megan Bannister of Olio in Iowa, she loves to find offbeat attractions, and had no trouble finding unusual and wacky fun in Wichita. Learn more about what she discovered in her article, Offbeat and Unusual Things to do in Wichita.”

Speaking of the tourism conference…

  1. Don’t forget to register for the conference at:
  2. Book your hotel room:
  3. Submit your marketing entries for the awards ceremony:

TIAK Board Spotlight July 2022


Our July board member spotlights feature folks from Leavenworth and Lindsborg! Read more below and be sure to say hello at a future TIAK event.

Be sure to check back monthly as we shine the spotlight on other members of the board throughout the year.

Kristi K Lee, Tourism Director – Leavenworth Convention & Visitors Bureau

What do you love most about working in the tourism industry?

You get to meet people from all over the state and travel to their cities to explore and meet. We all share a common interest of promoting our state to others and it brings a lot of comradery to our industry and a willingness to work together for the common good.

Tell us a little fun fact about yourself?

I enjoy going to auction sales and finding something that you really “need”, bidding on it and winning it! LOL

Best tip for a new member of TIAK?

Don’t be afraid to talk to other members and ask questions.

Favorite book, movie, music, food or vacation?

I love to read so my current favorite writer is James Rollins. Mystery and History all rolled into one.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I enjoy doing remodeling projects around my house and watching HGTV.

Holly Lofton, Director – Lindsborg Convention and Visitors Bureau

What do you love most about working in the tourism industry?

Helping people fall in love with Kansas!

Tell us a little fun fact about yourself?

I am a great goat milker, thanks to a stint on the Kansas State Fair Board!

Best tip for a new member of TIAK?

Use TIAK members as a valuable resource! Always reach out for answers to questions! If we don’t know the answer, we most likely know who does!

Favorite book, movie, music, food or vacation?

Out of Africa

Anything else you’d like to share?

We moved to Lindsborg 21 years ago because we loved visiting here. Proof that tourism is also community development!!!

TIAK Board Spotlight June 2022


Our June board member spotlight features a Hays superstar! Read more below and be sure to say hello at a future TIAK event.

Check back monthly as we shine the spotlight on other members of the board throughout the year.

Janet Kuhn, Sales Manger – Hays Convention & Visitors Bureau

What do you love most about working in the tourism industry?

The thing I love most about working in the travel industry is the lifelong friendships I’ve gained over the years.

Tell us a little fun fact about yourself?

I cannot finish an entire bag of microwave popcorn by myself.

Best tip for a new member of TIAK?

Attend the Kansas Tourism Conference and get involved.

Favorite book, movie, music, food or vacation?

Tuesdays with Morrie, Dirty Dancing, fajitas, and traveling through Kansas with my children.

Anything else you’d like to share?

One of my favorite sights is seeing a John Deere combine harvesting wheat. I’m a dog lover. And, I’m very proud my hometown is Hays, Kansas!