Nebraska setting tourism records

Published: Aug. 29, 2019 at 10:53 PM CDT
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The month of June set records for Nebraska tourism, with tourists contributing about $443 million dollars to Nebraska’s economy and boosting lodging tax revenue to an all-time high.

Nebraska may not be for everybody but the slogan seems to be paying off.

“What we really wanted to do is increase traffic to our website,” said John Ricks, the executive director of the Nebraska Tourism Commission. “That’s where people start to plan. Just since our campaign started on April 1st until today we’ve had 50,000 more people visit the site this year over last year.”

Ricks says pushing the campaign beyond the borders has brought more tourists in from out-of-state.

“Typically they come longer and spend more money,” said Ricks. “Another important factor about them is it’s new money into the economy and that helps a lot.”

From July 1st of last year until the end of June this year the lodging tax has brought in just shy of $6 million dollars, up 4% from last year.

Ricks says that both Lincoln and Omaha consistently bring in tourists but in the past year the more remote and nature-centric attractions are starting to generate more money.

“We started advertising in Denver and that’s pulling a lot more people into the western part of the state,” said Ricks. “The across the state on I-80 it looks as though from the new numbers that were actually getting people off I-80 to have fun in the Sandhills.”

Ricks says summer, as expected, is high season for tourism but with their continued website traffic and a Husker football season on the horizon he hopes the trend will continue.”

“People are continuing to come to the site and look at different things to see and do,” said Ricks. “I think we’re in pretty good shape.”