Thursday, October 25, 2007

"Tea and Talk" Kansas Flint Hills Presentation

I really enjoyed the opportunity this afternoon to speak at the "Tea and Talk" group meeting in the ESU Sauder Center - an enthusiastic group of 20 or so, mostly retired faculty - on the accomplishments of the Flint Hills Tourism Coalition, Inc. as well as the economic benefits of tourism in the Kansas Flint Hills as an economic development tool.

The particular PowerPoint slide, above, as I speak to the group, is my concluding slide for this presentation - a quote from Theodore Roosevelt: "Do what you can with what you have where you are" - perfect for our rural development efforts in the Kansas Flint Hills.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Flint Hills Heritage Conference - Fall 2007

The Heritage Task Force of the Flint Hills Tourism Coalition, Inc., held a very successful Heritage Conference at the Cottonwood Falls Community Center of Friday, Oct 19. This Fall Conference is the first of what is expected to be a series of semi-annual conferences moving toward eventual Congressional recognition as a National Heritage Area.

17 of the 22 counties in the Flint Hills Tourism Coalition had booths as presented ten minute of material about their counties for the benefit of all the rest of the county representatives in attendance. Among the participants were county officials, and representatives of a variety of local attractions in the Kansas Flint Hills.

The Conference opened with a photo montage compiled by Master of Ceremonies and Heritage Task Force Co-Chair, Dennis Toll, of the CVB in Manhattan.

Dr. Bill Smith, (yours truly) ESU School of Business, President of the Flint Hill Tourism Coalition, Inc., next shared "What is a Heritage Area?

This was followed by folk-loreist and Flint Hills native son, Dr. Jim Hoy, ESU English Department, speaking about the Kansas Flint Hills in his distinctive style, sharing real stories and encouraging the promotion of the heritage area concept.

State Senator Nick Jordan spoke to the group about the Kansas Travel Initiative (KTI) and encouraged the group in their endeavors.

Kansas Travel and Tourism Director, Becky Blake, shared with the group useful research and marketing information from the state level, that supported the KTI approach.

These photos also give a brief view of the county displays, around the edges of the room.

Here is a great representative sample of the county "booths," from Chautauqua County:

The Marion County presentation included the Harvey House, in Florence, with the building on the screen from the PowerPoint presentation, and a "Harvey Girl" in costume, on stage.

We did have a nice lunch, catered by "Bad Ol' Berns BBQ and Ice Cream" of Emporia - delicious!

To the right of the lunch line, above, are Linda Craghead, Executive Director, Flint Hills Tourism Coalition, Inc., and, far right, Suzan Barnes, Conference Coordinator, of the Grand Central Hotel, in Cottonwood Falls, Kansas.

The Conference closed with an excellent marketing presentation by Richard Smalley, Marketing Director, Kansas Travel and Tourism.