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October 18 - 20, 2016 * GERING CIVIC CENTER * GERING, NE 
Hosted by Gering Convention and Visitors Bureau 

Register to Attend
Lodging Options
Carpooling Options
Silent Auction


TUESDAY, OCT. 18 - Casual Business Attire
8:00 AM                                  Registration Open
8:00 AM to 6:00 PM                Gering Shop Around/Attractions             
8:00 to 9:30 AM                      Lincoln Highway Scenic & Historic Byway Meeting            
9:30 to 11:00 AM                    Nebraska State Scenic Byways Meeting
11:00 AM to 1:00 PM              NETA/NACVB Joint Lunch Meeting       
1:00 to 3:00 PM                      Nebraska Tourism Commission Meeting
3:00 to 4:00 PM                      Newcomer’s Orientation             
3:00 to 4:30 PM                      Nebraska Festivals and Events, Inc. Mtg                      
4:30 to 5:30 PM                      Welcome Reception at Civic Center        
5:30 PM to 7:00 PM                Dine Around Gering/Scottsbluff      

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 19 - Casual Business Attire
7:30 to 8:30 AM                      Breakfast Buffet              
7:30 to 5:00 PM                      Registration Open          
8:00 to 9:00 AM                      Conference Opening Event
                                                     Legislative Update- Andy Pollock  
9:00 to 10:15 AM                    Keynote Session
                                                     Mom and Pop on Top: How To Be Small, 
                                                               But Play Large- Jon Schallert   
10:15 to 10:45 AM                  Break                   
10:45 AM to 12:00 PM            Breakout Sessions
                                                     A Taste of Success: Creating Wine & Beer Tasting 
                                                               Events- Lori Paulsen/Nathan Hoeft
Get Found on Google and Other Critical Digital
                                                               Strategies- - John Heaston
Breaking Through The Chaos: Marketing Your
                                                               Destination To Stand Out (And Get Noticed!)- 
                                                               Dennis Franczak
                                                     Turn Any Business In To A Consumer Destination-
                                                               Jon Schallert
12:00 to 12:15 PM                  Networking Break          
12:15 to 2:00 PM                    Lunch/General Session-                              
                                                      Nebraska 150 Celebration- Regan Anson
                                                      2017 Eclipse- Derryl Barr
2:00 to 2:15 PM                      Break   
2:15 to 3:30 PM                      Breakout Sessions
                                                      Mastering Hospitality Communication- David Webster
Creating Compelling Sponsorship Offers- Bruce Erley
Volunteerism in Nebraska, Impact on Tourism 
                                                                and Communities- Amanda Barker
3:30 to 4:00 PM                      Break
4:00 to 5:15 PM                      Breakout Sessions
                                                      Cyber Security for Planning and Project Management-
                                                                Chris Hobbs
Sponsor Service That Assures Success This Year
                                                                and Next- Bruce Erley
The Care and Feeding of Exhibit Geeks-
                                                                William 'Biff' Baird
DIY Research and Planning- Berkeley Young
5:15 to 5:30 PM                       Break
5:30 to 8:00 PM                       Legacy of the Plains Evening Event- Casual Dress                               

THURSDAY, OCT. 20 - Casual Business Attire                                                  
7:30 AM                                   Registration Open
8:00 to 9:00 AM                       Continental Breakfast
8:00 to 9:00 AM                       General Session
                                                       Mixing Business with Pleasure: How DMOs and
                                                       EDOs Realize Ultimate Community Vitality-
Guillermo Mazier
9:00 to 10:15 AM                     General Session
                                                       Tourism Update- Nebraska Tourism Commission
Marketing Update-
                                                                 Bailey Lauerman/Swanson Russell
                                                                 Nebraska Tourism Marketing 

10:15 to 10:45 AM                   Break
10:45 AM to 12:00 PM             Keynote Session
                                                        How to Flip a Complaining Customer-
                                                                  David Webster
12:00 to 2:00 PM                     Annual Luncheon with Awards- Casual Business Attire  
                                                         Awards Presentation-
                                                                   Nebraska Tourism Commission

For an agenda with session descriptions, please download the Conference Program at the bottom of this page.


Register today to attend the Nebraska Tourism Conference. 
Registrations will be taken until Wednesday, Oct. 12.

Register online here.  Prices for the conference are available on the downloadable registration form.
Please note there will be a small fee associated to registering online. 


Download and fill out the registration form below.

Mail your form and check to:
Nebraska Tourism Commission
Attn: Bryce Arens
PO Box 98907
Lincoln NE 68509

Make check to:  Nebraska Tourism Commission








Fur Trader
NET- Nebraska Educational Telecommunications
Kearney Convention and Visitors Bureau
North Platte/Lincoln County Visitors Bureau
Maly Marketing
Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau
Omaha World Herald
Western Nebraska Tourism Coalition- WNTC


Nebraska Lottery
Midwest Meetings
True West Magazine
Norfolk Area Visitors Bureau
South Sioux City Visitors Bureau
CTM Media Group
York County Visitors Bureau
Certified Folder Display, Inc
Columbus/Platte County Convention & Visitors Bureau

American Road Magazine

Thank you to our conference sponsors! 
To show your support and become a sponsor, click

Call now to make your arrangements!

Monument Inn and Suites, 1130 M Street, Gering, NE 69341, 308-436-1950, 1-866-436-1950, Fax: 308-436-1951/Headquarters Hotel, 
Check in:3:00 pm/Check out:12:00 pm
CONTACT: Melonie Warfield, 

Hampton Inn & Suites Hotel & Conference Center, 301 W Hwy. 26, Scottsbluff, NE 69361, 308-635-4022, Fax: 308-635-5238,,
Check in:3:00 pm/Check out:12:00 pm CONTACT: Mary Escamilla, Director of Sales, 

Super 8 Hotel, 2202 Delta Dr., Scottsbluff, NE 69361, 308-635-1600,    Reserve with credit card on file.  Check in:2:00 pm/Check out:11:00 am 


If you are interested in carpooling, please notify Lisa Karnatz by emailing her at  A list is being maintained for those who might be interested. 

Nebraska Travelers Association holds a NETA Silent Auction every year at the Nebraska Tourism Conference. Proceeds support conference scholarships and any administrative costs for the organization.  You will find a wide variety of items to bid on with the hopes of being the highest bidder.  Bidding begins with a preview of the items on Wednesday morning in the Gering Civic Center board room.  Bidding ends AT 10:35 A.M. on Thursday. Winners will be notified to pick their items following the luncheon.

If you are interested in donating an item for the auction, please adhere to the following guidelines:

  • All prizes donated should have a minimum value of $25.00
  • A clear, detailed description (dates, times, # of people, stipulations, etc) of the prize should be provided so those bidding will know exactly what they are bidding on.
  • If you are providing a gift certificate as your prize, please print up the actual certificate and place that in an envelope. Please DO NOT seal the envelope. We will contact you with the name of the top bidder for your records.
  • Please bring your prize donation to the conference. NETA will not be responsible for gifts/donations mailed. If you are not planning on attending the Travel Conference, NETA will assist you in locating someone who will be attending and can bring your donation.
  • Communities can put packages together by including an overnight stay, meals, admissions to attraction, etc.

If you plan to donate, please download and fill out the Silent Auction form below. Send the form Attn: Patty Glidden, Sandhills Motel & Canoe Rental, PO Box 368, Mullen, NE 69152.  308-546-2206 or email her at  You are responsible to get your donation to the conference, please DO NOT mail or ship your item to Gering or to Patty. 

Check back often for more updates!

Register Online Here 

Register With Check Payment- Download the form below.

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Ecotourism on the Prairie


The Great Plains Ecotourism Coalition at the Center for Great Plains Studies is teaming up with the Nebraska Tourism Commission to start a monthly newsletter on nature-based tourism in the Great Plains that we’re calling “Ecotourism on the Prairie.”

Our goal is to make the newsletter entertaining, informative, and fun — stories worth reading. Each month we’ll share stories about ecotourism, photos, nature facts, and more. We hope to share our passion for ecotourism with you and explore its role in the Great Plains. Subscribe to the newsletter and check out the archive of past issues.

2016 Agri-Ecotourism Workshop




February 22-24, 2016


Registration Now Open! 

Click Here to Register Online

*Online registration requires a small convenience fee



Alex Duryea: 402-471-3797 or

Karen Kollars: 308-249-3220 or

Interested in being a Sponsor or Exhibitor?

Go to:


Monday, February 22, 2016

11:00 - 1:00 p.m.  Registration - Midtown Holiday Inn

1:00 - 7:00 p.m.  B2B Tours & Dinner 

1:00 p.m.  Gather in the lobby of Midtown Holiday Inn to Carpool

1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.  Depart for Nebraska Mushroom

  • Ash Gordon - 1982 E. Citation Way, Grand Island

3:30 p.m. -  5:00 p.m.  Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center

  • Brice Krohn - (I-80 Exit 305) 9325 S Alda Road, Wood River, NE

5:00 p.m - 7:00 p.m.  Dinner and Panel: 

  • Wayne Cyclery - John Wayne
  • Brice Krohn - Crane Trust
  • Ash Gordon - Nebraska Mushroom


Tuesday, February 23, 2016     Location: Raising Nebraska Facility

7:00 – 8-00 a.m.  Exhibitors Set Up

8:00 – 9:00 a.m.  REGISTRATION & CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST - Exhibitor Area

9:00 – 9:45 a.m.  General Welcome & Overview

9:50 – 10:45 a.m.  Building a Startup Culture

  • Sam Nelson - UNL Entrepreneurship Program

9:50  - Noon  Stop Lighting Money on Fire

  • Steve Maly, Maly Marketing 

11:00 - Noon  Partnering to Grow Your Community

11:00 – 12:00 p.m.  So you want to start a...                           

  • Brewery / Grow Hops - Caleb Pollard, Craft Brewers
  • Winery / Grow Grapes - Lori Paulsen, NWGGA
  • Profit off of the land with a Safe Agri/Eco-Tourism Business - Daryl Jones, Natural Resources Enterprise, Mississippi

12:15 – 1:45 p.m.  Farm to Fork Lunch - Brent Linder, Owner of Sin City, Wave Pizza, J Alfred Prurock's and the Glass Bar. 

1:45 – 2:30 p.m.  The Importance of Telling Your Story Effectively - Rebecca McCormick

2:30 – 2:50 p.m.  Break with EXHIBITORS

2:50 – 4:00 p.m.  Concurrent Breakout Sessions: 

  • Finances - Knowing what your Numbers are Telling You - Erin Pirro
  • Building Bicycle Tourism - Russ Roca & Laura Crawford, The Path Less Pedaled
  • Developing Your Story Online - Rebecca McCormick

4:00 – 4:20 p.m.  Break with Exhibitors

4:20- 5:30 p.m.  Breakout Sessions

  • Finances Part 2 - Erin Pirro
  • NE Star Party - John Johnson
  • Agritourism Studies Panel - Daryl Jones / Caleb Pollard / Mick McDowell
  • A Legal Roadmap for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses - UNL Entrepreneurship Legal Clinic                                            

5:30 – 7:30 p.m.  Taste & Feel Event - Heavy Hor devours

  • Hastings CCC Culinary Class
  • Wineries
  • Breweries
  • Nebraska Made Food & Products

7:30 p.m.  Return to Hotel/ Vendors and Exhibitors Tear Down 


Wednesday, February 24, 2016     Location: Grand Theatre 


8:00 – 8:45 a.m. Continental Breakfast at Grand Theater - Downtown

8:45 – 9:00 a.m. Story Behind the Grand Theatre - Liz

9:00 - 9:30 a.m.  Tourism Update - Kathy McKillip - Nebraska Tourism Commission Executive Director

9:30 - 10:00 a.m.  Understanding the Agritouism Liability Law - Andy Pollock

10:00 - 10:15 a.m.  Break

10:15 - 11:45 a.m.  Creating Effective Multi-Media Pieces on a Limited Budget - Brad Mellema

11:45 - 12:15 p.m.  Round Table Discussions with Speakers

12:15 - 12:30 p.m.  Wrap - Up / Lunch         

1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Nebraska Tourism Commission Meeting

1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Nebraska Byway Meeting 

2:30 p.m. Optional: Hornady Tour & Carnivores Meat Supply Tour



Midtown Holiday Inn

2503 S. Locus

Grand Island, NE  68801

Phone: 308-384-1330

Rate:  87.95 + tax

Block of rooms available until 1/31/16

When making your reservation, ask for the Block listed under Nebraska Agri Eco Tourism.


* This agenda is subject to change until further notice. 


Nebraska Tourism Commission announces educational webinars for 2016


Press inquiries should be directed to Jenn Gjerde at 402-471-3768 or

Other inquiries should be directed to Kathy McKillip at 402-471-1558 or



Nebraska Tourism Commission announces educational webinars for 2016

LINCOLN, NE (January 20, 2016)— For a second year, Nebraska Tourism will be conducting monthly and quarterly informational industry webinars. “We found the webinars in 2015 to be quite helpful,” said Nebraska Tourism Commission Executive Director, Kathy McKillip. “Each session gives those in the tourism industry a chance to stay up to date on events, marketing tools, programs and more, without having to make a trip across the state. The webinars are a great way to stay connected and a continuous way to share information.”

A full list of this year’s webinars are listed below, with the first scheduled for January 27 at 2:00pm (CST), which will be a quarterly update. The webinars will last about 1 hour and we will reserve time at the end for a Q&A session. An email address to send questions for the Q&A will be provided during the webinar.

Educational Webinars at 2 p.m.

February 1 – National Parks 100th Celebration

March 7 – Golf / Sports / Event Marketing

April 4 – 2016 Passport Program Preview

May 2 – Digital Marketing Trends

June 6 - Customer Service is Key due to online rating/review systems: “How to provide a great experience, how to monitor your reviews and how to respond”

July 11 - Topic and speakers to be announced

August 1 – Funding sources and options for non-profit and for-profit destinations

September 12 – How to keep summer momentum going into the shoulder and off season

October 3 – Travel Conference Preview

November 7 – Mobile Disruption

December 5 – New Trends in Target Marketing

Quarterly Industry Update Webinars at 2 p.m.

January 27

April 13

July 13

October 12

To log into webinars click on the following link: just before 2 p.m. the day of the webinar.

For more information about travel, events and unique destinations in Nebraska, order your free travel guide today at Then stay connected with Nebraska Tourism on our Visit Nebraska Facebook page, on Twitter, on Pinterest and on YouTube.

The mission of the Nebraska Tourism Commission is to expand Nebraska’s dynamic and diverse travel industry making it more viable by creating awareness, attracting increased visitors which results in greater tourism revenue and economic gain throughout the state. To learn more, go to



Become an Agri/Eco-Tourism Workshop Sponsor

It’s once again the time of year to plan on attending and exhibiting at the 11th annual Agri/Eco-Tourism Workshop presented by the Nebraska Tourism Commission and its numerous partners. This year’s workshop will be held Monday through Wednesday, February 22-24, 2016 in Grand Island, NE.  Monday will be Business to Business (B2B) tours.  Tuesday’s sessions will be held at the Raising Nebraska Building which is where the Sponsors / Exhibitors will set up.  Wednesday’s events will be at the Grand Theatre downtown Grand Island.

After last year’s workshop, 150 attendees from across the state went home invigorated with many new ideas and great information.  NTC is excited to have MarketPlace Nebraska merge with the 2016 Agri/Eco-Tourism Workshop to create a stronger networking opportunity in which to build community.  The 2016 workshop will provide community leaders, small business owners, landowners, farmers and ranchers with information on how to establish, finance, market and grow businesses based on agri/eco-tourism and small business partnerships.

We ask for your support to make the 2016 Agri/Eco-Tourism Workshop, Your Resource MarketPlace, one that participants won’t soon forget. With your valued sponsorship, we will be able to host a highly successful workshop that provides quality information and additional resources for individuals interested in developing or expanding their business. Participants will come away with fresh marketing ideas, greater financial opportunity and numerous networking contacts!

We’re excited to team up with you on this top-quality workshop to further strengthen and grow our state’s agri/eco-tourism industry and rural business economy. Please review the enclosed sponsorship form and indicate your commitment level for this year. We know you’ll find it to be one of the most valuable networking opportunities that you and workshop attendees will experience in 2016.

Thank you for your support!


Alex Duryea                                                                Karen Kollars 

Ecotourism Consultant                                               Agritourism Consultant

402-471-3797                                                              308-249-3220