Kansas tourism division to see restructure, department move

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly said she plans to restructure the department containing the tourism division, opting to move it under the Department of Commerce. The move is part of an effort to consolidate the state’s tourism focus in order to spur new economic development.

Gov. Laura Kelly said Monday that she will restructure the executive branch and attempt to put the state’s tourism division under the Department of Commerce.

The governor’s office cited input from businesses, destination marketing organizations and other key industry partners for the move, as a way to use Kansas’ tourism efforts primarily as an economic development tool.

“Consolidating our Tourism focus within the Department of Commerce sends a clear message to our industry partners and prospective companies that this administration will use every tool at our disposal to spur new economic development,” Kelly said in a statement. “This realignment will benefit our business community, our tourism industry, and Kansas’s economic recovery as a whole.” 

The tourism division is currently under the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, but after this move, “tourism” will be dropped from the name.

The division will be housed within business development at the Department of Commerce. The department already has experience with increasing tourism, including the Kansas Athletic Commission and the STAR Bond program. 

The move becomes official July 1 unless the Legislature objects. Lawmakers have done so in the past when the governor wanted to merge the Department for Children and Families with the Department for Aging and Disability Services.

Department of Commerce Secretary David Toland said he doesn’t expect lawmakers to object.