Friday, December 19, 2014

Tourism week to showcase county

By ABBY CROSTHWAIT, Herald Staff Writer | 5/1/2013

The “Road Across Kansas” runs through Franklin County, local tourism officials said.

To celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week, the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce and Franklin County Convention and Visitors Bureau are playing host to a Chamber coffee event 8 a.m. Friday at the Visitor Information Center, 2011 E. Logan St., Ottawa. Donuts and information on local travel and tourism will be available for attendees, Kristi Lee, director of the visitors bureau, said.

The “Road Across Kansas” runs through Franklin County, local tourism officials said.

To celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week, the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce and Franklin County Convention and Visitors Bureau are playing host to a Chamber coffee event 8 a.m. Friday at the Visitor Information Center, 2011 E. Logan St., Ottawa. Donuts and information on local travel and tourism will be available for attendees, Kristi Lee, director of the visitors bureau, said.

“We’ve been doing it for several years [to recognize the May 4-12 tourism week] and it’s a great way to get the word out,” Lee said.

An open house also is planned 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 10 at the visitor’s center.

“It’s a great way to show off the power of travel and get people thinking about their upcoming travel,” Lee said. “It’s also to show the solidarity of national tourism and economic benefit it brings to the area.”

A quilt from an area quilting group, the Blockheads, is expected be on display throughout next week at the visitor’s center, Lee said. Each member of the group crafted an 18-inch-by-24-inch block for the quilt.

“This project is called the Road Across Kansas,” Chris Campbell, a member of the Blockheads, said. “We had one specific fabric we each had to use for our road. We could do whatever we wanted and it’s what we would see if we were traveling across Kansas.”

Each member’s fabric piece is different, Campbell said. Once each piece is completed, the quilt is expected to be put together, with the “road” passing through each different piece.

“The only thing that’s the same in any of them is the road fabric itself,” Campbell said Monday. “The interpretation is up to each individual quilter. We haven’t seen all [the pieces] together yet, but we know it’s going to work.”

The Blockheads group crafts quilts mostly for the challenge, Campbell said. The group uses its projects to seek new avenues of creativity and inspiration.

“Since we’re all avid and dedicated quilters, and we work on various projects, it’s just a way for us to share our work, challenge ourselves and be creative,” she said.

The Blockheads’ quilt, as well as National Travel and Tourism Week itself, helps bring awareness to the economic boost that travel gives both Kansas and Franklin County.

“The economic benefits for the state of Kansas generated $5.8 billion in economic output for 2011,” Lee said. “The bed tax alone brought in $3.86 million in direct spending for hotels in Franklin County. That’s not including indirect spending.”

Lee said tourism dollars aren’t just brought in from travelers staying in hotels, but from their outings while staying in Franklin County — an important factor for business owners to keep in mind.

“Overall impression of the town is what we’re after,” Lee said. “ ... If you have somebody stopping in, it’s business 101: Give them the best you’ve got to keep them coming back.”

In addition, she said, Franklin County tourism helps keep residents’ taxes lower.

“I think without [travel and tourism], and without the outside flux of dollars, the local residents would have to make up a lot more in taxes just to support the infrastructure,” Lee said. “We need to continue to promote tourism and bring outside spending dollars here to make the health of the community stronger.”

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