Joins Kansas Tourism in grassroots effort to communicate the power of Travel National Travel & Tourism Week May 4 - 12th.

The first full week of May is annually recognized as National Travel & Tourism Week (NTTW), a tradition first celebrated in 1984. May 4 - 12th, the Great Bend Convention and Visitors Bureau along with the Wetlands & Wildlife National Scenic Byway joins the annual salute to travel and tourism.

In concert with NTTW, the CVB and byway has joined the Kansas Power of Travel Coalition launched by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) www.travelks.com/industry/ks-power-of-travel as the centerpiece of Kansas Travel & Tourism Week initiatives. The newly shaped coalition is organized as a grassroots effort to showcase the power of travel in Kansas. New partnerships and effective communication through Kansas Power of Travel will collectively demonstrate the positive impact of travel.

Awareness programs such as National Travel & Tourism Week lend themselves perfectly to recognizing the leaders of the industry, as well as underlining the importance of day-to-day employees that make visitors' experiences positively memorable.

The 2011 IHS Consulting Study, recently released by KDWPT, reports that tourism represented a 1.5% share of the total Barton County expenditures, recording a growth of 8.0% over 2009.

"Recognizing the economic strength of the travel industry is key to the continued growth of Great Bend and Barton County ," said Loren Unruh, Chairman of the Great Bend Convention & Visitors Bureau Board of Directors "We are proud to pro-actively support the Kansas tourism industry as a member of the new coalition Kansas Power of Travel."

In Stafford County visitor expenditures contributed $9.7 million to the local economic wealth.

On a statewide basis, the IHS Study reports:

· In 2011, Kansas received 32 Million visitors* generating tourism expenditures of $8 Billion

. The average visitor to Kansas spent $236

. In terms of jobs, tourism was the third largest industry in the state employing

148,228 Kansans (direct & indirect)

. Only 217 visitors are required to create a new job in Kansas

. Tourism was responsible for 4.4% of the total Kansas Gross State Product; yet, tourism activity provided 14.4% of all state and local tax receipts.

. Tourism provided $917 in tax relief to each Kansas Household.

. Kansas state and local tax receipts equaled $32 per visitor

All businesses & employees who recognize the value of the travel and tourism industry are encouraged to support the Kansas Power of Travel Coalition. No membership fees or costs are associated with joining the coalition. Coalition members will have access to the latest research & trends; marketing partnership opportunities; industry news; educational opportunities and special promotions and events. For more information about the Kansas Power of Travel Coalition and to join please visit www.travelks.com/industry/power-of-travel

For more information about the impact of travel and tourism to Kansas and the Kansas Power of Travel Coalition visit: www.travelks.com/industry/ks-power-of-travel.