by Murrel Bland
It was sort of a homecoming for Bridgette Jobe, except she has not really left her home in the Piper community.
Jobe, after spending 25 years at the Kansas City, Kansas, Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, is now the director of tourism for the state of Kansas. She was the featured speaker at a luncheon meeting of the Congressional Forum, Friday, Sept. 20, at Children’s Mercy Park. The Kansas City, Kansas, Area Chamber of Commerce sponsors the forum.
Once she took over the state job on July 15 earlier this year, she found she was still dealing with many of the same persons that she worked with when she was with the Kansas City, Kansas, Bureau. And the basic aim continues in her new job — to promote tourism.
Jobe said Gov. Sam Brownback moved tourism from the Department of Commerce to the Department of Wildlife and Parks in 2011. This agency has about 470 full-time employees.
One of Jobe’s concerns is the low level of funding for Kansas tourism. Of the 50 states, Kansas ranks 48th with a budget of about $3.9 million. No general fund tax money goes to the tourism agency. Funding sources include the Kansas Lottery and subscriptions to the Kansas! magazine.
Jobe said she recently attended a conference of state tourism directors in Austin. She said part of the conference was a “boot camp” session for new state tourism directors where she learned the “do’s and don’ts” of the business.
Kansas tourism will have a new advertising agency, Jobe said; it is Bajillion of Topeka.
Jobe announced that her successor here will be Alan Carr. Carr, who was introduced at the forum, worked for more than 10 years as a vice president with Visit KC, which is based in Kansas City, Missouri. He is a graduate of the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas at Lawrence.
Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is executive director of Business West.