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10/17/17
The Great American Eclipse was big business for Nebraska

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

The Great American Eclipse was big business for Nebraska
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

La Vista, Neb. (Oct. 17, 2017)— When the moon brought the state into darkness, Nebraska’s tourism industry was in the spotlight. Tuesday, the Nebraska Tourism Commission along with Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts announced the remarkable results of an economic impact study done by Dean Runyan Associates and Destination Analysts, Inc. regarding the Great American Eclipse.

It is estimated that over 708,000 people traveled to watch the 2017 Solar Eclipse in Nebraska. Approximately 87 percent of those from out-of-state. Making the eclipse, Nebraska’s greatest single tourist event on record.

“This data confirms the magnitude of the solar eclipse’s impact and we couldn’t be more pleased,” said John Ricks, Nebraska Tourism executive director. “The amazing one-time event was big business for our industry and beyond. We hope travelers were inspired to share stories about their Nebraska experience and to visit again.”

Quick Facts:
● The economic impact across the state totaled an estimated $127 million, from lodging and travel expenditures

● On average, visitors spent three days in the state

● A total of 92.7 percent of out-of-state visitors said the eclipse was the reason for their visit to Nebraska. 60.6 percent of out-of-state visitors said they would not have made this trip to Nebraska has it not been for the Solar Eclipse
 
●Prior to this trip, 70.9 percent of out-of-state visitors had not visited Nebraska in the past three years on a purely leisure trip (not to visit friends or relatives). However, when asked, nearly 40 percent said they are likely to visit Nebraska in the next 2 years; 45 percent said they are likely to return in the next 2-5 years

● Media coverage of the event also provided free publicity with an estimated value over $133 million
 
During the opening lunch of the 2017 Nebraska Tourism Conference, where these numbers were announced, Governor Ricketts said, "The eclipse was the perfect opportunity to show off our great state to hundreds of thousands of people. I want to praise the efforts of the Nebraska Tourism Commission and the Nebraska Eclipse Coalition in making August 21, 2017, a safe and pleasurable experience for so many people.”
 
Governor Ricketts recognized the ten cities involved in the coalition with a certificate of excellence. Those cities are Alliance, Beatrice, Gering, Hastings, Grand Island, Kearney, Lincoln, North Platte, Omaha and Scottsbluff.
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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09/06/17
Fall Festival Fun in Nebraska

FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Angela Sears at 402-471-7755, or angela.sears@nebraska.gov

Fall Festival Fun in Nebraska

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LINCOLN, Neb. (September 6, 2017)—Fall is right around the corner which means pumpkins, apple cider and colorful leaves. Appreciate the nice weather while hiking or camping at any of Nebraska's beautiful State Parks or grab a friend and head to one of these great events.

Check out this list of fun fall activities you can enjoy with the whole family. More events can be seen at VisitNebraska.com. Don't forget to order a Fall/Winter Travel Guide!

Husker Harvest Days


Grand Island, NE
September 12-14

 

Celebrating its 40th year, the world’s largest totally irrigated working farm show comes together once again in Grand Island, Nebraska. The show features the latest equipment, supplies and technologies available to today’s producers. View the newest tractors, combines and harvesters, grain-handling equipment, and irrigation technologies. 

Applejack Festival


Nebraska City, NE
September 15-17

The Applejack Festival is an entire event dedicated to the apple harvest. The whole city celebrates with activities and events put on throughout the weekend. If you are looking for apple pie, apple cider, caramel apples, apple fritters, apple sangria or pretty much anything made from apples, this is the place to be!

21st Annual Harvest Festival

Gering, NE
September 16-17

Enjoy all things fall in western Nebraska. Kids can play in a hay bale fort, ride through the pedal tractor course and play fun games throughout the weekend. Potatoes are the featured crop this year and you can even pick your own. This event allows you to catch a rare glimpse of antique farm machinery in action so don't miss out!

Kearney Oktoberfest


Kearney, NE
September 30

The fourth annual Kearney Oktoberfest, brought to you by Bank of the West, provides an opportunity to sample and learn about a variety of craft beer styles from across the state of Nebraska. The event features a traditional keg tapping, German games, food and traditions, as well as polka music. Be there for a headline performance by the band, Whiskey Bent!

Crete's Great Pumpkin Festival

Crete, NE
October 6-8

The 3rd Annual Great Pumpkin Festival will be in downtown Crete and filled with autumn fun. There will be live entertainment, a food court, carnival games and a craft show. For the more adventurous people, you can even zip line down main street. Bring the whole family and delight in a fun fall experience!

Junkstock: Harvest Edition

Waterloo, NE
October 6-8

 

Junkstock is the place to be for vintage finds, unique antiques, handmade artisan food and goods and one of a kind repurposed relics. The three-day curated vintage, junk & artisan festival that celebrates all things rusty, dusty & timeless is at the charming century old Sycamore Farms.

Bewitching Halloween Events


Nebraska State Parks
October 13-31

 

The State Parks throughout Nebraska are putting on fun, family friendly Halloween activities throughout the month of October. Win cool prizes for having the best Halloween decorations at your campsite at Indian State Park. Trunk or Treat at Homestead Knolls Campground. Go for a night hike on Friday the 13th at Fremont Sate Recreation Area and enjoy a spooky movie afterwards. Learn more here.

     

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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08/22/17
Eclipse Was a Success for Nebraska’s Tourism Industry
FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Angela Sears at 402-471-7755, or angela.sears@nebraska.gov

Eclipse Was a Success for Nebraska’s Tourism Industry

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LINCOLN, Neb. (August 22, 2017)— Sometimes the stars, or in this case the moon, just align and great things happen. On Monday, Nebraska’s tourism industry welcomed hundreds of thousands of people to the state to view the total solar eclipse. The eclipse passed diagonally through the center of the state from Scottsbluff all the way down to Falls City. Small towns and cities in and around the path prepared for months and even years to host visitors from around the world and many hotels, B&B’s and campgrounds were completely sold out for months in advance.

The build-up to the event was very exciting; and calls and internet searches were at an all-time high. The Tourism Commission’s website, www.VisitNebraska.com experienced a 30% increase in traffic over the same period last year as incoming visitors researched places to go and things to do while they were in Nebraska for the eclipse.

Media coverage for the event also provided some fantastic free publicity for the state as journalists, photographers, bloggers and social media influencers from across the country and around the world descended on Nebraska to share their story. Year-to-date Nebraska was promoted as a prime location to watch the eclipse in thousands of newspapers, magazines, television news programs and more. The Nebraska Tourism Commission tracks that coverage and estimates that its value is over $133 million dollars in publicity. Nebraska Tourism’s Marketing Manager, Angela Sears commented, “In the final seven days alone there was over $72 million dollars worth of press that would have reached over 7.7 Billion people world-wide.”

Nebraska Tourism’s Executive Director John Ricks, who watched the eclipse in Ravenna, stated, “You can’t just guess at the impact of such an amazing one-time event like this, so we partnered with tourism industry research experts to develop a survey that would help us better estimate the actual visitor count and measure the economic impact that we knew our stakeholders would want to know.”

During the event the Nebraska Tourism Commission positioned volunteer survey takers around the state to survey eclipse visitors to gauge the economic impact of the event for the state. Among other things, the surveys asked about overnight stays, types of accommodations, what made them decide to come to Nebraska, how much did they spend and what was their overall satisfaction with their visit. The results of the surveys will be tabulated over the next month and a half and will be combined with key tax information like lodging tax numbers to allow the Nebraska Tourism Commission to report eclipse economic impact numbers at its fall conference. This year’s Nebraska Tourism Conference will be held October 17-19 at the LaVista Conference Center in LaVista.

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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08/18/17
Nebraska 'Geeks Out' About the Eclipse with Scientific Events
 

Nebraska 'Geeks Out' About the Eclipse with Scientific Events

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LINCOLN, Neb. (August 18, 2017)— With all of the fun events surrounding the total solar eclipse, people often forget the amount of scientific research that goes in to planning and preparing for it. Communities all over Nebraska are focusing on the importance of scientific research involved with this incredible event.

“The Solar Eclipse is a great opportunity for people of all ages to engage in research and scientific discoveries,” said John Ricks, executive director at the Nebraska Tourism Commission. “Nebraska is fortunate enough to host NASA scientists, planetarium exhibits and professors from across the country.”

Here are just a few towns in Nebraska where astrology fans and amateur science geeks can go and learn from other professionals in the study of celestial events:

 

Alliance


The Knight Museum and Sandhills Center will be hosting Digitalis Planetarium shows on Saturday and Sunday from 10 AM to 3 PM. The show is about 40 minutes long and be sure to make reservations so you know you have a spot! The show is designed for age 10 to adult.

There will also be five different educational seminars held in the Performing Arts Center, 1450 Box Butte Ave. Seminars will start on Friday at 7 PM and the last one will be on Sunday at 7 PM. To learn about the seminars and events in Alliance, visit their website.

 

Ashland

 
The Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum will be hosting a solar eclipse viewing on Monday, August 21. It will include access to planetarium shows from 11 AM to 4 PM. They will also provide a science presentation at 11 AM along with outdoor music during the eclipse gathering. General admission for indoor activities is $12/adult, $11/senior or military, and $6/youth 4-12 years of age. 

To learn more about the viewing at the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum visit their website.

Beatrice


Homestead National Monument will host many events throughout the weekend including presentations by several scientists. NASA professionals Dr. Edwin Grayzeck, Lindley Johnson, Zach Berta-Thompson and Dr. Kelsey Young will be speaking on Monday. Dr. Amy Mainzer will have a Q & A session and Bill Nye will talk about the Eclipse Junior Ranger Program.

There will also be a NASA tent where people can have astronomical conversations with NASA professionals.

For all of the activities going on at Homestead, visit their website.

To learn more about activities in Beatrice, visit their website.

Gering and Omaha


If you are interested in learning how different animals react to the eclipse you can go to Riverside Discovery Center for educational activities, food and the chance to spend the eclipse with animals at the zoo. For more information visit their Facebook page.

The Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium will also be hosting activities such as crafts, stories and animal observations. Activities will take place at the Wildlife Safari Park where an open prairie will make for a great view of the sky. For more information visit their website.

For more information on other activities in Gering and Omaha, visit the NEclipse website.

Lincoln


Haymarket Park, home of the Lincoln Saltdogs Baseball team, will be hosting several indoor and outdoor exhibits as part of a Science and Engineering Expo. The public is welcome to come and enjoy free informational booths, hands-on activities and interactive demos.

If you are looking for a family friendly show for younger kids, you can visit Mueller Planetarium at Morrill Hall on Friday and Saturday at 11:00 AM. They will also have a show geared towards an older audience at 12:00 AM.

To learn about events in Lincoln visit the city's website. 

Other Locations


More events and exhibits will be held in communities across the state, including the cities of Grand Island, Hastings, Kearney, North Platte, and Scottsbluff. To learn more about the eclipse and how you should prepare for this highly anticipated event, visit the NEclipse website.

 

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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08/10/17
Top Ten Reasons to Attend the Nebraska Tourism Conference

FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Angela Sears at 402-471-7755, or angela.sears@nebraska.gov

Top Ten Reasons to Attend the Nebraska Tourism Conference

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LINCOLN, Neb. (August 10, 2017)—The 2017 Nebraska Tourism Conference is still a couple of months away but it's never too early to get excited about what to expect. There are different sessions each day with networking breaks in between. The conference will also include a marketing update from the Nebraska Tourism Commission where you will receive an update on the passport program and other general marketing activities. 

"With so many quality presentations, as well as opportunities to network and learn, this year's tourism conference will be an event to remember," said John Ricks, Executive Director at the Nebraska Tourism Commission.

Here are the top ten reasons you need to sign up for the conference: 

1. Be a kid again at Vala’s Pumpkin Patch

Tim Vala, owner of Vala’s Pumpkin Patch, wants you to be a kid again for at least a little while at his pumpkin patch.  Learn how Vala turned his wild idea into a highly successful business. As a conference attendee, you will visit Vala's Pumpkin Patch where you will be treated to a catered meal, bonfires and maybe even a train ride around the property.

2. Gain access to educational workshops, seminars, and quality speakers

All three days of the conference are packed with informational sessions lead by experts in their fields. Don't miss your chance to learn valuable tips and tricks on how to grow your business or attraction. This conference helps to expand Nebraska's tourism industry.

3. Find out how tourism creates a Halo Effect on the local economy

George Zimmermann will present Longwoods’ ground-breaking Halo Effect research. This research demonstrates how tourism marketing and visitation improves a destination's image not just as a place to visit, but also as a place to live, start a business, start a career, buy a second home and retire – talk about a chain reaction…looks like all of the key economic development objectives for any city, state or region.

4. Network with new friends and strengthen relationships

Making new connections means making new friends in the tourism industry that will last a lifetime. The conference is the best time to hear new ideas and learn what has worked for peers. 

5. Learn how to think outside of the box

No one goes to a conference hoping to leave with the exact same knowledge they had before. It wouldn’t be worth your time nor would it be worth your money. Our speakers and breakout sessions will challenge you to see all sides of the industry and how you can better promote your attraction or business.

6. Discover ways to increase attendees at your festivals and events

Brenda Leisy of the Old West Balloon Fest, Stacy Ann Griffin of the Nebraska Cigar Festival, Deborah Ward of the Omaha Craft Brew Campaign and David Fudge of Nebraskaland Days will provide insight on how to create successful festivals and events. During this session, you will learn how to face challenges and to apply goals to create sustainable and prosperous festivals. 

7. Become familiar with FAM Tours

Michael Collins will discuss the importance of increasing familiarity of your community. This session will show you what you can do to bring group operators to your attraction, community or area. You’ll learn the tricks of the trade to make yourself “group ready,” but also how you can work with the Nebraska Tourism Commission’s group tour manager.

8. Visit exhibitors and discover new marketing avenues

Visiting with conference exhibitors and learning about new marketing products and avenues keeps you informed on the latest ways to market your business.  Meeting someone face to face usually means better customer service.  So think about it... when would you ever get all the vendors in the same room waiting for you to talk to them? 

9. Zoom in for video tips for social marketing

Video is the newest way to reach more fans and amplify your social marketing. Learn from social media expert Catherine Heeg as she shares tips to produce your own videos, as well as, tools to fire up your imagination. In her session, you will learn the secrets to Live video, how to market your videos socially and amplify your messaging and how to capture images and footage that inspire people to travel.

10. You're sure to have a good time!

Make the most out of your trip to this conference by attending as many sessions as you can, as well as visiting Nebraska tourism sites. Enjoy all that Sarpy County has to offer! While you are in the area, hike through the Fontenelle Forest, go shopping at the Nebraska Crossing Outlets or take a tour of the Lucky Bucket Brewing Company.

     

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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