Traveling the highways, byways celebrated during National Travel and Tourism Week

Throughout the United States National Travel and Tourism Week is being celebrated.

The heartland has many places to see and visit.

In my lifetime I have seen a shift and greater efforts to develop destination spots off the beaten path. Farmers and ranchers have developed petting zoos, bed and breakfast inns and unique craft opportunities to augment their income and open up new opportunities for people to enjoy agriculture.

The very nature of the industry itself has lent itself to changes. I have gotten to know many excellent convention and visitors ambassadors who often told me that if a tour was established to allow urban visitors to experience a wheat harvest in the summer or a corn harvest in the fall (ala City Slickers) it could have a profound impact on visitor counts and awareness of the importance of the industry.

They also recognize it is virtually impossible to set aside a time in which visitors would not find a way to interfere with harvest and increase the risk of a serious or even deadly accident.

Still the story of the heartland is real through the foundation of its pioneers and today’s entrepreneurs. I’ve had the opportunity to see many attractions in Kansas and rarely have I been disappointed because the story behind it is always a fascinating one.

For our family, as I have written before, annual vacations included a trip to Colorado to escape the Kansas heat. The Rocky Mountains represented what Mother Earth gave to us to enjoy in all her majesty. Yet, there were fascinating stops along the way to get gas that would even have dad and mom asking questions to attendants. As a boy, my brothers and myself had questions about William “Buffalo Bill” Cody, why so many signs to indicated his visits? How he could he have been in all those places, including Nebraska and Kansas, in a time when horseback was the fastest mode of transportation. Yet it always worked out for Mr. Cody and the answers seemed to answer our curiosity.

Most of my trips to other states have all been part of business trips and I was thankful to get a day to see a town or community when it was possible. After each stay, I always thought to myself I’m going to put it on my bucket list to return—did it happen.

National Tourism Travel and Tourism Week is designed to make people think about opportunities to travel and the economic impact it has on local communities and an overnight stay by a guest means bed tax revenue is going to help keep local property taxes down.

The story of tourism is worth the investment. My advice in 2018 is to get off the major highways and travel a off the beaten path to find some nuggets of history and enjoy Americana.