Ford County tourism injects more than $104 million into the economy annually and has a $523 million impact in Southwest Kansas, according to statistics provided by the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB).
Every 217 visitors creates a new job in Kansas.
It takes 320 visitors to pay for one Kansas public school student for one year.
It's clear tourism is an important industry in Kansas, and Dodge City. That's why Dodge City and the CVB are celebrating National Travel and Tourism week May 4 through 12 with several events in the community.
"We want to bring awareness on the importance and impact of tourism," Jan Stevens, director of the CVB said. "And, also help people in the area learn about all the great things available in Dodge City."
The week kicks off with free rides on the Historic Trolley at the Visitors Center, 400 W. Wyatt Earp, and refreshments from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 4. Visitors may also sign up for a drawing for two round trip tickets donated by Great Lakes Airlines.
"If people can't make it out on Saturday, they can stop by the CVB anytime throughout the week to sign up for the drawing," Stevens said.
The winners will be announced the following Saturday as part of the National Train Day celebration at the Santa Fe Depot.
Residents are encouraged to stop by the Dodge City Public Library some time during the week and see a display showcasing various Dodge City and Ford County attractions.
Cinco de Mayo
In addition to those festivities, there will be a parade to celebrate Cinco de Mayo at 1 p.m this Sunday.
According to a press release from the CVB, the parade will wind through downtown and end at Wright Park. After the parade the La Ke Buena Cinco de Mayo entertainment begins in Wright park. Activities include dancing, live bands and a jalapeño contest.
The Santa Fe Depot
On Saturday May 11, the Santa Fe Depot will celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week and National Train Day. Free tours of the Depot will be given from 10 to 11 a.m., and again from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Visitors can also visit the Amtrak Train Station and learn more about traveling by passenger rail. Model trains will be on display in the station lobby. Guests will have the opportunity to sign up for a chance to win complementary Amtrak tickets.
There will also be a special dining car lunch and presentation on "the man who civilized the West one meal at a time", Fred Harvey. Cost for the lunch and presentation is $25 and reservations must be made in advance by calling (620) 225-1001.
Throughout the week, the CVB is urging residents take a moment or two to visit the many attractions that Dodge City has to offer. Take a walk down the Trail of Fame; visit Boot Hill Museum which is free to Ford County residents the whole year; see who's been inducted into the Kansas Teachers Hall of Fame; or visit one of the many other attractions Dodge City has to offer. For a full list, head to the CVB.
Page 2 of 2 - "There is so much to do here in Dodge," Stevens said. "There are times when we have to pick and choose what to do on the weekends."
Stevens hopes that by the end of National Travel and Tourism Week residents will have a greater understanding of what Dodge has to offer its guests and visitors.
For more information about visiting any of these attractions during National Travel and Tourism Week or throughout the year visit, www.visitdodgecity.org.