Missouri named top travel destination for 2019 by the Wall Street Journal

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Japan, the Maldives, and.... Missouri?

The Wall Street Journal listed the Show-Me State as one of the top intriguing travel destinations in 2019. So if you know someone looking to go on vacation, you may want to recommend your own state -- or city!

"I'm not surprised," Kansas City resident Kathryn Long-Wilson said.

"It makes sense," Kansas City resident Peter McClellan said. "It makes sense because more and more people ask where I'm from and I say I live in Kanas City, and they say, 'Oh! I heard that's a cool place!'"

The folks over at Visit KC aren't surprised either. Derek Klaus, their director of communications, said Kansas City has a lot to be proud of.

"With its arts and convention experience and the street car, the breweries, with everything that's happening downtown," Klaus said. "We have a whole new story to tell, and I'm glad that people are starting to take notice."

However, it's not just the city's revitalization, but the culture that keeps people coming back to the City of Fountains.

"When I first visited Kansas City, I was shocked at how much culture and food and art, the support for the arts. I mean, there`s just such a vibrant culture here," Long-Wilson said.

"You never know who you're going to connect with, and I think that -- to me -- maybe people are intrigued by the idea that when they come here it's not what they thought it was going to be," McClellan said.

The article also cited KC's new 21c Museum Hotel as a reason to visit.

Visit KC said they hope people come, visit and stay in the largest city in this intriguing state.

"St. Louis might have the arch," Klaus said. "We've been working on this new downtown experience for the last 10 years. Over the last decade, more than $9 billion worth of renaissance has been poured into our backyard creating a whole new experience."

Klaus said year over year, the number of Kansas City's visitors continues to grow.

"There's a lot more in store. When you look at the Lowes Hotel coming in 2020, the new airport single terminal coming in 2022 -- we've got nowhere to go but up," Klaus said.

The article also sites the revitalization of the St. Louis Arch and the city's growing tech community as reasons to visit. The selection comes a little over a year after the NAACP issued a travel advisory for the state. It cited some race-based incidents in the state in 2017.