More than a year before a $160 million-plus upgrade of downtown Salina is completely unveiled, and a planned multimillion dollar restoration of the old Smoky Hill River channel ensues, visitors to Salina and Saline County are spending more than $200 million a year on travel and tourism here, according to a 2017 study by Tourism Economics.

Benefits fro the downtown project could be far-reaching, said Sylvia Rice, director of Visit Salina at the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s not just a downtown project. It’s a community project that’s going to spread dollars all over the town, county and region,” she said.

Visitor-supported economic activity in the county already supports one out of every 11.5 jobs here, according to the study. Tourism in Saline County generated more than $30 million in tax revenue, nearly two-thirds of which helped run state and local governments, the data reads.

Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism reported in 2017 that the state hosted more than 35 million visitors, and tourism activity contributed more than half a billion dollars to state and local governments, producing 94,126 jobs.