16:07 PM

Tampa, meet Tampa! Small Kansas town visits Florida for the holidays

Ninety five residents of Tampa, Kansas, flew into TPA Monday to begin a surprise vacation courtesy of Visit Tampa Bay, Southwest Airlines and several local businesses.

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Almost the entire population of Tampa, Kansas, arrived at TPA this week for a quick vacation to enjoy what Tampa, Florida, has to offer.

Visit Tampa Bay, which markets the city and region as a tourism destination, partnered with Southwest Airlines to invite every resident of the Midwestern town (with a population of about 100) to the bay area for the holidays. Almost everyone took them up on the offer.

In all, 95 of the town’s residents arrived at Tampa International Airport on Monday afternoon aboard two different nonstop Southwest flights from Kansas City. The Kansas contingent included about 30 children, most of whom had never flown before.

“We want to welcome our Kansas cousins for what is sure to be the trip of a lifetime,” TPA Executive Vice President for Marketing and Communications Chris Minner said. “TPA is proud to be able to give this group its first impression of not just our Tampa, but the entire Tampa Bay region.”

Local businesses are working with Visit Tampa Bay to provide some perks for the travelers.

The group will stay for three nights in the Floridan Hotel, with excursions to Busch Gardens and ZooTampa at Lowry Park. They also will receive Tampa Riverwalk Attraction Passes to visit eight different downtown attractions, including the Florida Aquarium, the Tampa Museum of Art and the Glazer Children’s Museum.

The group heads back to Kansas on Thursday.

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