Visit Topeka Inc., Topeka’s official destination management organization has signed the contract for Topeka’s first national conference. 

The Group Travel Family, dubbed “America’s #1 choice in group travel solutions,” has announced that Visit Topeka will host the 2020 African American Travel Conference (AATC) at the Capital Plaza Hotel, April 14-16. 

“The entire African American Travel Conference family and our members are looking forward to experiencing Topeka firsthand.” Joe Cappuzzello, president & CEO of the AATC, says. “The Visit Topeka sales team and the Capital Plaza Hotel impressed us during the site visit, along with their Midwest hospitality, convincing us that Topeka will step up to this opportunity to showcase all that it has to offer our members.”

Cappuzzello said Topeka’s iconic African American heritage sites were the determining factor in the decision. Those sites include Monroe Elementary School, a National Historic Site under the National Park Service and center piece of the Brown v. Board of Education 1954 court decision on school segregation and the Ritchie House, an Underground Railroad historic site.

“Topeka’s heritage tourism is as rich as any other city when it comes to the significant impact it has had on the world.” Brett Oetting, president of Visit Topeka, says. “As we continue to put focus on our heritage tourism attractions and programs, this conference will be a catalyst to drive travel to our community.”

The conference will be comprised of 250 travel planners from around the United States. These travel planners are decision makers in the African American travel industry who book group travel from tour buses to reunions.

Mike Bell, vice president of Visit Topeka, worked with Cappuzzello on the bid and said that Topeka should be proud of this announcement. “Booking Topeka’s first national conference is another indicator that our community is on the right path. People from around the country are taking notice in what we have to offer here.”

As Topeka's official destination marketing organization, Visit Topeka is dedicated to marketing the region as an exceptional destination for meetings, events, sports and leisure tourism, thereby enhancing the local economy. Visit Topeka is a 501(c)6 not-for-profit organization. Learn more at

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Mike Bell at 785. 215.8133 or