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Great Bend CVB receives grant to help boost tourism
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TOPEKA – The marketing of the Wetlands and Wildlife Scenic Byway received a boost, thanks to a grant from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.
The awards, announced Tuesday by KDWPT in Topeka, totaled  $70,350 to the Great Bend Convention and Visitors Bureau and Exploration Place Inc. in Wichita to help the organizations with promotional efforts.  The grants are funded through the Attraction Development Grant Program, and will be matched by a total of $789,274 from the two recipients.
 The Great Bend CVB, representing the byway, will receive $40,350 to help market the byway through e-marketing, targeted trade show attendance, online and print advertising.  They will leverage $60,528 cash and in-kind contributions toward the total project cost of $100,878.
“This will allow us to more aggressively market our byway and the region at a national level,” said CVB President Cris Collier.
There are two marketing teams working with the scenic route that connects Cheyenne Bottoms in Barton County with Quivira National Wildlife Refuge in Stafford County, Collier said. An internal committee markets it within the county and region. The CVB’s job is to look beyond that, and that is where the grant will help.
Exploration Place will receive $30,000 to assist with marketing “Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination” an interactive science and technology exhibit. It will leverage $728,746 towards the total project cost of $758,746.
 “We are pleased to support these exciting tourism attractions in Kansas,” said Tourism Director Becky Blake. “As travelers seek new travel experiences, it’s important to assist our communities in developing attractions that will draw visitors and enhance economic development. The Attraction Development Grant Program is a great tool to help tourism destinations maximize their potential.”
 The Attraction Development Grant Program assists in developing and marketing authentic experiences that encourage travelers to visit Kansas. Grants may be used for various activities necessary to expand the tourism product base or develop new attractions. The program funds up to 40 percent of a project, with the community or business funding the remaining 60 percent. Funding for the Tourism Attraction Development Grant Program comes from the Economic Development Initiatives Fund, which is derived from state lottery proceeds.