Visit Topeka has organized seven days of events and activities for Topeka visitors and residents alike to celebrate the positive effects of tourism in the community. The week-long celebration is in recognition of National Travel and Tourism Week and will be held May 1-7 throughout the city.
“Visit Topeka knows that tourism is serious business. This is true for our community, our state and the nation,” said Brett Oetting, president and CEO of Visit Topeka. “We want to recognize the important role of tourism in our community’s economy, to recognize hospitality workers in our area and to celebrate the great attractions that bring people to Topeka and enhance the quality of life for those of us who call Topeka home.”
Travel generates $2.1 trillion for the U.S. economy and supports more than 15.1 million jobs nationwide, according to the U.S. Travel Association.
In Shawnee County, according to research by Oxford Economics, more than 5 percent of all jobs are related to travel and tourism and travel’s total economic impact is more than $397 million. Local attractions reported 806,095 visitors in 2015. That many people, standing shoulder to shoulder, would stretch from Topeka into Colorado.
In celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week, Visit Topeka has identified seven themes, one for each day. Visit Topeka and its partners are proud to offer these opportunities to visitors and Topekans alike. Stop by the Visit Topeka visitor center, 618 S. Kansas Ave., between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for a free gift and look for Visit Topeka staff during First Friday Art Walk as well.
Activities and discounts by day:
Sunday, May 1: Parks and Trails Day. Ride your bike or enjoy a picnic and get excited for Cyclovia Topeka. The bicycling and wellness festival is coming July 29 and 30 throughout the city. Learn more about our local parks and trails: VisitTopeka.com/parks. Learn more about Cyclovia Topeka, including how to volunteer, at VisitTopeka.com/cyclovia.
Monday, May 2: Restaurant Day. The following restaurants are offering discounts. Mention the tourism special when you order. Learn more about local restaurants at VisitTopeka.com/restaurants
- Glory Days: Large one topping pizza for the price of a medium. Valid at all locations.
- Dickey’s Barbecue Pit: Buy one, get on free pulled pork sandwich with the purchase of a drink.
- Pepe & Chela’s: Smothered pan fried tacos $6.99
- The Burger Stand: 10 percent off entire meal.
Tuesday, May 3: Hospitality Appreciation Night. Hospitality workers, including but not limited to hotel staff, restaurant staff and gas station staff, and their families are invited for an evening of fun at the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center. Visit Topeka and Pepe & Chela’s are providing food and the KCDC will be open from 5-7 p.m. for those with their hospitality employment nametag. This annual thank you to hospitality staff recognizes the important role of service in a tourists’ Topeka experience.
In addition, during the Topeka City Council meeting, Mayor Larry Wolgast is expected to issue a proclamation declaring Topeka Tourism Week.
Wednesday, May 4: Tourism is Sweet Day. Visit Topeka is offering a Know Your City training event for hospitality workers from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. And the public is invited to enjoy some of Topeka’s sweetest treats at Hazel Hill Chocolate, Shana Cake and Le Petit Bon Bon. The first 50 visitors to each shop will receive a free treat, courtesy of Visit Topeka, which is preparing for the inaugural Kansas Chocolate Festival on Sept. 24. Learn more about the Kansas Chocolate Festival at VisitTopeka.com/events.
Thursday, May 5: Heritage Day. Enjoy some of Topeka’s incredible museums and historical attractions for ½ price admission. Learn more about great Topeka attractions at VisitTopeka.com/things-to-do. Participating museums are:
- Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site (admission always is free)
- Combat Air Museum
- Curtis House (open all day)
- Great Overland Station
- Old Prairie Town (offering buy-one-get-one-free tours.)
- National Guard Museum (admission always free)
- Ritchie House (open all day)
Friday, May 6: It’s First Friday Art Walk. Get out and shop local, enjoy the annual Salsa Fest and Cinco de Mayo celebration and watch for Visit Topeka staff handing out goodies to help you soak up your city this summer.
Saturday, May 7: Celebrate Topeka’s fun for kids of all ages in NOTO with the Two Block Chalk Walk and with these discounts throughout the city:
- Old Prairie Town: enjoy a buy-one-get-one half-price treat at the store (full price item must be regular price. Discount on item of equal or lesser value.)
- Starlite: buy-one-get-one-free admission from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. if you mention the tourism special.
- West Ridge Lanes: buy-one-get-one-free bowling 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Shoe rental not included).
Again, all specials and discounts are available to both visitors and local residents.
“If it has been a while since you got out and enjoyed your city, plan on it during Travel and Tourism Week,” Oetting said.
Find this information and a downloadable infographic about the economic impact of tourism in Topeka and Shawnee County at Visittopeka.com/events/travelweek2016. Share your photos from these activities with us on social media using #TopCityTourist.