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03/17/17
National travel writers to tour central Nebraska March 19-23, 2017

PRESS RELEASE

FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Jenn Gjerde at 402-471-3768, or jenn.gjerde@nebraska.gov
Angela Sears at 402-471-7755, or angela.sears@nebraska.gov

National travel writers to tour central Nebraska next week

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LINCOLN, Neb. (March 17, 2017) - Parts of central Nebraska will step into the national spotlight March 19-23, as the state plays host to a group of 20 journalists writing for international, national and regional media outlets. These tours are designed to give selected media outlets an opportunity to learn what Nebraska has to offer visitors in various regions of the state.

The trip will show off the state’s Central Platte River Region, the annual sandhill crane migration and other attractions such as The Archway, Harlan Reservoir, Pioneer Village, the Golden Spike Tower, Calamus River, Wessels Living History Farm and much more. In addition to visiting unique Nebraska attractions, the journalists will sample local restaurants and learn about famous Nebraska historical figures. Cities featured in the tour include McCook, Kearney, Gothenburg, Minden, Grand Island, North Platte, Henderson, York, Aurora, Hastings and Red Cloud.

The visiting journalists write for a wide variety of publications including TIME, Vanity Fair, National Geographic Traveler, Conde Nast Traveler, USA Today, Audubon Magazine, AARP, AAA Midwest Traveler, AAA World, AAA Living, Birdwatcher's Digest, Nature Travel Network, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, The Minneapolis Star Tribune, Washington Post and many others.

“These tours are an example of the unique opportunities we must regularly consider to promote Nebraska as a travel destination. We hope to inspire these writers and then let them inspire their readers to plan a vacation to our state. Many of the journalists find that Nebraska is an undiscovered destination full of adventure," said John Ricks, Nebraska Tourism executive director.

This will be the sixteenth media tour sponsored by the Nebraska Tourism Commission. 333 journalists have visited Nebraska on the previous media tours, resulting in 833 articles or broadcast segments, which have appeared in media outlets including Wall Street Journal, Midwest Living, Smithsonian, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Better Homes & Gardens, Parade, USA Today, Saveur, US Airways Magazine, American Cowboy, Group Tour, Group Travel Leader, Canadian Geographic, Byways, Smart Meetings, American Airlines Magazine, MotorHome Magazine,  Huffington Post, Texas Golfer, AAA Journeys, National Public Radio, Chicago Tribune, Kansas City Star, Miami Herald, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Oklahoman, Fort Worth Star Telegram, Toronto Sun, Albuquerque Journal, the Coloradoan and hundreds of other media outlets.
 
Some 1,063,542,609 potential visitors have been exposed to this coverage. If this editorial coverage had been purchased as paid advertising it would have cost more than $13.4 million. National and in-state tourism sponsors have provided more than $618,415 in goods and services including air transportation, lodging, meals and activities to support the Nebraska Tourism Commission's media tour program.

Two others tours will take place in late spring/early summer to showcase other parts of the state.

       

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

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03/16/17
2017 Nebraska Tourism Serves sites selected

PRESS RELEASE

FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Press Contact: Jenn Gjerde at 402-471-3768 or jenn.gjerde@nebraska.gov
Tourism Cares Coordinator: Erin Wirth at 402-471-3789 or erin.wirth@nebraska.gov

2017 Nebraska Tourism Serves sites selected

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LINCOLN, Neb. (March 16, 2017)— The Nebraska Tourism Commission is excited to announce the Nebraska Tourism Serves selection committee has chosen the four service sites for 2017. This is the second year Nebraska Tourism is organizing these events and was pleased to receive numerous applications. “This program allows the tourism industry and communities to come together to ensure that our attractions are kept in a condition that they can be an asset for people to enjoy for generations to come,” said John Ricks, Nebraska Tourism executive director.

The first 2017 project will be at the Crane Trust Nature and Visitor Center in Wood River, April 28 and 29. During this event volunteers will be creating flower beds, planting and weeding, while sprucing up a butterfly garden. “Our butterfly garden is the first thing you see when you walk out of the Visitor Center and we look forward to signing and improving the garden,” said Brice Krohn, Crane Trust Nature and Visitor Center vice president. “Improving this trail experience will attract more guests to spend time with us outside of March (when the cranes are with us) and enjoy the wonderful community of a summer prairie.”

The second event will be at the Lincoln County Historical Museum in North Platte, May 17 and 18. Volunteers will be repainting the Platte Valley Barn, one of the museum’s historic structures. “This structure is a wonderful example of barns found on the small farms in the valley at the turn of the 20th Century,” said Jim Griffin, museum curator. The event will coincide with the annual Brochure Swap put on by the Nebraska Travel Association with the hopes that more industry members have the chance to participate.

The third event will take place at Wessels Living History Farm in York, June 5. Volunteers will be landscaping, painting the exterior of many outbuildings and helping to create a new visitors’ information area. “We currently have a brochure rack, with a few additional things around it to promote other attractions and businesses,” said Hillary Mundt, the farm’s director. “With a little more space, we will be able to do more to promote other attractions, including advertising their events and creating a space for visitors to sit and explore Nebraska travel magazines, to plan their next trip.”

The final event will be held in September at the Corps of Discovery Welcome Center in Crofton. Volunteers will be repainting the building’s exterior. Welcome Center director, Katie Meyer said, “We are the only welcome center in northeast Nebraska, located on the Pan American Highway, welcoming travelers into our state and promoting Nebraska tourism and other tourist destinations throughout the entire state. We strive to keep a beautiful and welcoming building and landscape to make a positive impression on our visitors.”

Nebraska Tourism would love to have you join the efforts to maintain tourism destinations across the state.  If you’re interested in being a program volunteer, please provide your information at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/tourismserves or send an email to erin.wirth@nebraska.gov

More information on Nebraska Tourism Serves can be found at VisitNebraska.com/industry, search: Tourism Serves.

     

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

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03/14/17
2016 brings over 20 million visitors to Nebraska attractions

FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Jenn Gjerde at 402-471-3768, or jenn.gjerde@nebraska.gov
Angela Sears at 402-471-7755, or angela.sears@nebraska.gov

2016 brings over 20 million visitors to Nebraska attractions

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LINCOLN, Neb. (March 14, 2017)— More than 20 million visitors came to Nebraska's attractions in 2016. Each year the Nebraska Tourism Commission collects attendance data from tourism destinations throughout the state including state and national parks, museums, art galleries and more. Once again, state parks and the Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium proved to be the most popular places to visit.
 
“Nebraska is an amazing state to explore and these numbers show that we aren’t the only ones that think so,” said John Ricks, Nebraska Tourism executive director. “More and more people are spending their time and tourism dollars here, and with the sesquicentennial and excitement surrounding the Passport program, it will only grow. This all translates into more jobs and tax revenue for the state's third-largest industry."
 
Last year, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium had the largest attendance in the state and reached over 2 million visitors for the first time ever. This is a 22 percent increase from the zoo's 2015 attendance count, which was documented at 1,679,324, and comes after the opening of the African Grasslands exhibit last spring.
 
Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area in Ogallala had 1,366,863 visitors and Branched Oak State Recreation Area in Raymond had 1,290,856 visitors. Five destinations total reached over 1 million in attraction attendance in 2016.
 
The 10 destinations with the largest attendance numbers in 2016:

  1. Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
  2. Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area
  3. Branched Oak State Recreation Area
  4. Eugene T. Mahoney State Park
  5. CenturyLink Center Omaha
  6. Wagon Train State Recreation Area
  7. Ponca State Park
  8. Fremont State Recreation Area
  9. Platte River State Park
  10. Pawnee State Recreation Area

To see the full list of Nebraska attraction attendance go to http://visitnebraska.com/media/industry/category/annual-attraction-attendance

*Only attractions who reported their numbers to the Nebraska Tourism Commission are listed.

 

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

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03/01/17
Tourism Commission invites you to share unique perspectives in 2017

FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Jenn Gjerde at 402-471-3768, or jenn.gjerde@nebraska.gov
Angela Sears at 402-471-7755, or angela.sears@nebraska.gov

Tourism Commission invites you to share unique perspectives in 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Lincoln, Neb. (March 1, 2017) – Today’s travelers have a desire to discover the local favorites of the places they visit, in addition to exploring the more well-known attractions. This trend inspired the Nebraska Tourism Commission to take a unique approach to marketing the state of Nebraska during the sesquicentennial year.
 
Nebraska Tourism is inviting Nebraskans and travelers to become the ambassadors for the state by sharing stories of the unique, unexpected and personal side of spending time in Nebraska. These stories are then featured on the newly redesigned, VisitNebraska.com.
 
“When people are deciding where to travel, they value the perspective of real people that know the area. We want to inspire people to discover all the great things to see and do in Nebraska, by showing our state through the eyes of those who are most passionate about it – Nebraskans and those visiting the state,” said John Ricks, Nebraska Tourism Commission executive director.
 
To kick-off the campaign, Nebraska Tourism created stories at attractions all across the state, including Toadstool Geologic Park, Scottsbluff National Monument and the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. These videos will greet guests to VisitNebraska.com with the hope that they inspire people to submit their own video, written or image-based story at visitnebraska.com/submit. Stories should be a first-hand perspective.
 
Once folks create their story, they’ll have a chance to preview it before it is submitted to the Commission for publication on VisitNebraska.com. The stories can link to profiles of other destinations or events, which will help connect travelers to areas of interest and allow them to create customized trip plans and itineraries.

The storytelling campaign coincides with the state’s 150th birthday celebration. Folks can also share their Nebraska stories with the Nebraska Sesquicentennial Commission by posting them on social media and using the hashtag, #IAmNebraska. To see sesquicentennial events and activities that will be happening all year go to NE150.org.

       

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

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02/27/17
2017 Nebraska Passport sites selected

FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Press Contact: Jenn Gjerde at 402-525-4455 or jenn.gjerde@nebraska.gov
Passport Coordinator: Erin Wirth at 402-471-3789 or erin.wirth@nebraska.gov

2017 Nebraska Passport sites selected

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LINCOLN, Neb. (February 27, 2016)—The Nebraska Tourism Commission is pleased to announce the stops that will be in the summer 2017 Nebraska Passport.

“We’re excited to continue this program for an eighth year. The Passport inspires Nebraskans and tourists to travel the state collecting stamps to earn prizes, while also supporting small businesses, attractions and hidden gems,” said John Ricks, Nebraska Tourism executive director. “Every year since its inception the program has gained popularity. In 2016, more than 87,000 total stamps were collected and we expect 2017’s participation to be even better.”

The 2017 Passport will again feature 80 attractions on 10 themed tours with one tour honoring the state’s sesquicentennial. Travelers will have from May 1 through September 30 to visit the attractions and get their stamps.

“The 2017 Passport program is focused on giving travelers truly memorable experiences,” said Passport program coordinator Erin Wirth. “The 80 Passport stops offer a mix of thrilling, relaxing and unique adventures. Passport travelers will create lifelong memories while they have fun exploring Nebraska. From discovering Nebraska’s hidden gems to celebrating Nebraska’s 150th birthday, the 2017 Passport showcases what makes Nebraska special.”

Passports will be available at participating stops starting May 1 or can be pre-ordered at http://nebraskapassport.com/requestyourpassport/. Participants are also encouraged to download the Nebraska Passport App for their smartphone and get stamped digitally, supplementing the physical Passport booklet for convenience. Please note, the passport app will be updated with the 2017 information on May 1. Those who used the mobile app last year will need to download the update to see the new program information. To download, search ‘NE Passport’ in the Apple App Store or the Google Play App Store.

Prizes for this year’s participants will be announced at a later time.
 

Selected Sites:

 
THRILLS & CHILLS                          
Arrow Hotel (Broken Bow)           
Fort Cody Trading Post (North Platte)       
Fort Sidney Museum and Post Commander's Home (Sidney)                           
Historic Argo Hotel (Crofton)       
Klown Doll Museum (Plainview)  
Museum of Shadows (Elmwood)               
The Speakeasy (Holdrege)            
Trails and Rails Museum/BCHS (Kearney)
              
HIDDEN TREASURE
Brownville Historic District (Brownville, Stamps at Flatwater Folk Art Museum & Whiskey Run Creek Vineyard & Winery)
Chez Bubba Café (Goehner)         
Chili Dawg's Foods of Fire (Blair)                
Clayton Museum of Ancient History at York College (York)              
Gibbons Honey Farms (Crawford)                                                           
G.W. Frank Museum of History and Culture (Kearney)                                      
Pawnee City Historical Society & Museum (Pawnee City)  
Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed (Lincoln)   
 
ART FOR THE HEART
Artists’ Cooperative Gallery (Omaha)                      
Cedar Creek Pottery (Beatrice)    
Main Street Studios & Gallery (Elkhorn)                   
Pender Quilt Tour (Pender, Stamp at Main Street Thriftique)              
Postscript (Ashland)                       
Prairie Arts Center (North Platte)
Robin's Nest (Springfield)              
Studio K Art Gallery (Grand Island)
              
HELLO SUNSHINE
Ash Hollow State Historical Park  (Lewellen)          
Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center (Wood River)
Fort Robinson State Park & History Center (Crawford)        
Niobrara State Park (Niobrara)    
North Fork Outfitting LLC (Norfolk)                        
Ponderosa Cyclery + Tour (Omaha)                          
Red Willow State Recreation Area (McCook)         
Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area (Gering)            
              
A WARM WELCOME      
Aurora Downtown Square (Aurora, Stamps at The Renaissance Fine Art and Photography Studio & Aurora Floral)
Fairbury Downtown Square (Fairbury, Stamp at Stagecoach Mall Antiques/Main Street Coffee House)
Ord Downtown Square (Ord, Stamp at The Golden Husk Theater)
Our Corner Cottage Gifts (Wahoo)                           
Polish Heritage Center (Ashton)                 
Rustic & Red (Cozad)                     
Seward Downtown Square (Seward, Stamps at Red Path Gallery & Tasting Room & Chapters Books & Gifts)
Tecumseh Downtown Square (Tecumseh, Stamp at Johnson Country Museum)
 
CELEBRATE NEBRASKA 150         
Legacy of the Plains Museum (Gering)
Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center (Chadron)            
National Willa Cather Center (Red Cloud)
NE 150 Mobile Museum  (Various Locations)
Nebraska History Museum (Lincoln)                         
Nebraska National Forest, Bessey Ranger District (Halsey)              
Nebraska State Capital (Lincoln)                
Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer (Grand Island)            
              
A LITTLE ME TIME
A Little Inspiration (Geneva)         
Chapman Swifts Coffee House (Kearney)
Citta’ Deli (McCook)       
Double L Country Store and Café (Harrisburg)       
Lauritzen Gardens (Omaha)
Positively You Boutique (Central City)       
Smith Falls State Park (Valentine)
Something Special by Marilyn (Atkinson)
              
GOOD PEOPLE, GOOD TIMES     
17 Ranch Winery (Lewellen)
The Chocolate Bar (Grand Island)              
Glacial Till Tasting Room (Ashland)                           
Infusion Brewing Company (Omaha)                       
Junto Wine (Seward)
Legends of Clatonia (Clatonia)    
Odyssey (Hastings)          
The Tangled Tumbleweed (Scottsbluff)    
 
UNIQUELY NEBRASKA   
Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park (Royal)                    
Bakers Candies Inc (Greenwood)               
Carhenge (Alliance)                        
Father Flanagan’s Historic Home (Boys Town)
Happy Jack Chalk Mine (Scotia)                  
University of Nebraska State Museum - Morrill Hall (Lincoln)                          
Ole's Big Game Steakhouse (Paxton)                       
Runza Restaurant (Lincoln)
                             
BE A KID AGAIN
Dusty Trails LLC (North Platte)   
eCreamery Ice Cream & Gelato (Omaha)                      
Edgerton Explorit Center (Aurora)                            
Front Street Steakhouse and Crystal Palace Saloon (Ogallala)         
Horn T Zoo (Monroe)
Kimmel Orchard & Vineyard (Nebraska City)          
TTM Toys (Nebraska City)             
UNL Dairy Store (Lincoln)      

       

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

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