Tourism on the Rise in Fort Scott

Jackson Tough. Submitted.

Tourism is the act of spending time away from home in pursuit of recreation, relaxation, and pleasure, while using commercial services, according to Britannica Dictionary.

Local tourism is looking healthy as evidenced by the transient guest tax from 2015 through 2022, which just completed its first quarter, JacksonTough, Fort Scott’s Public Relations and Tourism Director said.

“Transient guest tax is probably the most common form of raising funds to promote tourism in a given community,” Tough said. “It’s simply a tax on hotel/motel rooms that visitors pay when they stay in Fort Scott.”

“Residents do not pay into the tourism tax unless they happen to stay in a hotel/motel in Fort Scott,” he said. “Advertising funds are primarily used for promotion of Fort Scott; from print ads, brochure distribution, website maintenance, materials to target motorcoach tours and conferences, social media ad placement, among others.”

The City of Fort Scott has had several tourism directors through the years whose job it is to promote events and attractions

Tough started last June as the newest public relations and tourism director.

Earlier this year, his office was moved from city hall to the Bourbon County Regional Economical Development Inc. office on the second floor of the Landmark Bank, 200 S. Main, he said. He is still an employee of the city but the move allows he and the REDI Executive Director Rob Harrington to work more closely.

Because tourism is also a form of economic development the city commission and the REDI board agreed that it would be smart for the two entities to work side by side, Tough said.

“Like Rob’s job is to help existing businesses increase and to facilitate new business, my job is to help grow existing tourism as well as promote for new events and tourism attractions to Fort Scott,” Tough said.

“I’m very excited about the direction we’re headed in, Harrington said. “Jackson and I work well together. He has his own economic development experience when he was in broadcast marketing and management and also through the chamber of commerce. He has put together a solid plan for marketing Fort Scott tourism into the future.”


The NICA race at Gunn Park in April 2022. Submitted photo.

“Even though tourism is on the rise there’s always room for improvement,” Tough said. “We are constantly researching opportunities. Whether it’s the possibility of more motor sports, expansion of rodeo events, adding disc golf or baseball tournaments.”

“There has been discussion of combining and incorporating Gordon Parks, Company D – 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry Regiment and other little known and under told stories of progressive African American leaders and events from the Fort Scott area,” Tough said. “It’s an inspirational story that should be told about our area.

“Advertising funds are primarily used for promotion of Fort Scott; from print ads, brochure distribution, website maintenance, materials to target motorcoach tours and conferences, social media ad placement, among others.”

The Fort Scott Mud Run in April 2022. Submitted.

To view the prior story on the mud run:

Watch Fun in the Mud April 23-24 at Bo Co Fairgrounds

“We recently hosted two new events to Fort Scott,” Tough said. “The first annual Fort Scott Mud Run at the Bourbon County Fairgrounds drew approximately 500 visitors to town last month. The first annual National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) youth race at Gunn Park, also in April,  brought approximately 400 visitors to Fort Scott.”

This month Bourbon County hosted with Crawford and Cherokee counties the 2022 Big Kansas Road Trip which features three Kansas counties each year.

The three counties cooperated to invite folks from across Kansas to explore the area.

“It’s been a fantastic event to be a part of!” Tough said.

These Are Events The Fort Scott Tourism Office Works With

  •  FSCC Rodeo each March,
  •   National Historic Site Spring Civil War Encampment in April,
  • Pioneer Harvest Fiesta Swap Meet and Town-Wide Sale each May,
  •  Good Ol’ Days Celebration in June,
  •   Lavender Fest  in June,
  • Marmaton Massacre/Tri-Yak-A-Thon in September,
  • Pioneer Harvest Fiesta,  and the Gordon Parks Celebration in October,
  • Veterans Day Events (Monuments & Memorials, Military Mixer, etc.) in November,
  • National Historic Site Candlelight Tours in December.

“We also promote Dolly the Trolley, the U.S.National Cemetery #1, our Historic Downtown District, as well as other events/attractions” Tough said.

“Fort Scott Tourism is continuing to build a strong brand, expand our social media reach, and target consumers that fit our primary visitor demographics,” Tough said. “Brand awareness is critical to building a relationship with travelers. We will continue to utilize creative concepts that deliver…measurable results. A unique proposition targeted to prospective travelers can create consumer engagement.”


For more information about Fort Scott tourism click to discover more events, attractions, excellent eateries, cozy accommodations and more.

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