Topeka Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has created a new committee charged with promoting ecotourism in the state.
Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Secretary Robin Jennison will lead the 16-member Kansas Ecotourism Steering Committee. Brownback said Wednesday the panel's mission is to provide direction, guidance and marketing strategies to help grow the industry.
Brownback's office says ecotourism combines conservation and travel to include such as activities as hiking, biking, camping, wildlife-watching and river floats. The administration says tourism overall is Kansas' third largest industry, with an economic impact of $5.4 billion.
In the ecotourism niche, the state estimates that 790,000 people participated in wildlife-watching activities in 2011, spending about $208 million in related purchases.