Coronavirus remains plague on tourism, entertainment and winery industries

Damage to the Kansas tourism economy during the COVID-19 pandemic can be illustrated by impact of closing the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, as well as other popular sites and venues.

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September 18, 2020 - 2:49 PM

TOPEKA — Damage to the Kansas tourism economy during the COVID-19 pandemic can be illustrated by impact of closing the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene.

The largest attraction in Abilene has been closed for months, blocking access to the $9 million exhibit space opened in August 2019 after an eight-month renovation. Nearly 150,000 people visited the museum last year. That was expected to double in 2020, said Kelly Peetoom, president of the Travel Industry Association of Kansas.

“The 2020 travel season was predicted to be Abilene’s best year in a long time. In contrast, it is Abilene’s tourism industry’s worst,” Peetoom said.

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