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02/01/19
Nebraska Tourism announces tourism grant recipients

PRESS RELEASE

FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Press Contact: Erin Lenz at 402-471-3797, or erin.lenz@nebraska.gov
Grant Administrator: Heather Hogue at 402-471-3774 or heather.hogue@nebraska.gov

Nebraska Tourism announces tourism grant recipients

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LINCOLN, Neb. (February 1, 2019) – The Nebraska Tourism Commission today announced grant awards totaling $784,600.20 in the combined application cycle of the Community Impact and Tourism Marketing Grant programs. The Commission received a total of 81 applications this grant cycle requesting $1,713,996.06 in funding.
 
The Commission’s grant programs are very competitive, and involve a selection committee of grant reviewers from the private and public sectors and citizens at large. 

"With the widespread attention of our new campaign, being able to help communities, events and organizations across the state affordably capitalize on Nebraska's growing popularity is really exciting. There were many creative grant proposals this year and I’m looking forward to seeing the impact they have on tourism in Nebraska," said John Ricks, Nebraska Tourism Commission executive director.
 
Awardees this grant cycle include: 

  • $211,620 to the Lancaster Event Center to promote the 2020 National High School Finals Rodeo
  • $152,000 to the Omaha Sports Commission for the 2020 US Olympic Team Swimming Trials and digital directed marketing
  • $25,000 to Discover Northwest Nebraska for their digital marketing campaign promotion
  • $25,000 to Sidney/Cheyenne County Tourism for promotion of the Time to Unwind at Exit 59 campaign
  • $23,500 to the Omaha Equestrian Foundation to promote the 2020 International Omaha Horse Competition
  • $21,600 to Opera Omaha for promotion of the 2020 ONE Festival
  • $21,280 to North Platte/Lincoln County Visitors Bureau for group tour promotions and directed marketing
  • $14,100 to Cass County Tourism for group tour promotions and directed marketing
  • $13,662.50 to Lied Lodge and Arbor Day Farm for directed marketing
  • $12,950 to Pink Gorilla Events for digital and social media marketing
  • $12,595 to Golden Spike Tower for group tour promotions and directed marketing
  • $12,000 to Columbus/Platte County Convention and Visitors Bureau for directed marketing
  • $10,500 to Kearney Archway for directed marketing
  • $10,250 to Maha Music Festival and Conference for promotion of the 2019 event
  • $9,750 to Willa Cather Foundation for directed marketing promotions of the Walk in Her Footsteps; Stay in Her Town campaign
  • $9,375 to Norfolk Area Visitors Bureau for directed marketing
  • $9,100 to Hastings Museum for directed marketing
  • $8,500 to Valley County Tourism and Ord Area Chamber of Commerce for directed marketing
  • $8,250 to Cherry County Tourism for directed marketing
  • $8,190 to Sports Nebraska for the 2019 TEAMS Conference
  • $8,000 to Old West Balloon Fest for promotion of the 2019 National Hot Air Ballooning Championship
  • $7,500 to Joslyn Castle Trust for directed marketing
  • $7,500 to Kearney Cultural Partners for directed marketing
  • $7,500 to Lincoln Calling for directed marketing efforts of the 2019 event
  • $7,500 to Visit Omaha for directed marketing
  • $7,000 to GROW Nebraska Foundation for directed marketing
  • $7,000 to Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway for directed marketing
  • $6,750 to Nebraska Association of Bed & Breakfasts for directed marketing
  • $6,000 to Gage County Tourism for group tour promotions and directed marketing
  • $5,771 to Wessels Living History Farm for group tour promotions and directed marketing
  • $5,720 to Northeast Nebraska Travel Council for group tour promotions and directed marketing
  • $5,261 to Museum of Nebraska Art for directed marketing
  • $5,250 to Red Cloud Tourism & Commerce for directed marketing
  • $5,230 to Kearney Visitors Bureau for group tour promotions and social media marketing
  • $5,000 to Kearney’s Classic Car Collection for directed marketing
  • $5,000 to Ogallala/Keith County Chamber of Commerce for social media promotions
  • $5,000 to Washington County Historical Association for directed marketing
  • $4,500 to Superior Development Corporation for directed marketing
  • $4,000 to Rabble Mill for social media promotions of the 2019 Skate Art Music Anti-Gala
  • $4,000 to Western Nebraska Tourism Coalition for directed marketing
  • $3,795 to Brownville Cultural Center for group tour promotions and directed marketing
  • $3,750 to Southwest Nebraska Tourism Coalition for directed marketing
  • $3,350 to Legacy of the Plains Museum for promotion of the Oregon Trail Wagon Train
  • $3,230 to Gering Convention and Visitors Bureau for group tour promotions and social media marketing
  • $3,025 to Rich Harvest Vineyard and Winery for directed marketing and brochures
  • $3,000 to Box Butte Development Corporation for digital directed marketing
  • $3,000 to Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer for social media promotions
  • $3,000 to Lincoln Children’s Museum for social media promotions
  • $2,500 to Lincoln Arts Council for directed marketing of 2019 Lincoln Arts Festival
  • $2,500 to Scotts Bluff County Area Visitors Bureau for digital directed marketing
  • $2,000 to Friends of Homestead National Monument of America for social media promotion of their Tallgrass Prairie Fiddle Festival
  • $2,000 to Friends of Lewis & Clark Bicentennial for digital marketing
  • $2,000 to Knox County Economic Development for social media promotions
  • $1,595 to Grand Island Convention and Visitors Bureau for group tour promotions
  • $1,545 to Boys Town for group tour promotions
  • $1,500 to Gothenburg Chamber of Commerce for digital directed marketing
  • $1,000 to Oregon-California Trail Association for digital directed marketing of the Nebraska Auto Tour
  • $933.20 to Sherman County Historical Society for newspaper advertising of their Jenner/Ohlsen Open House event
  • $922.50 to Omaha Performing Arts Society for group tour promotions
  • $750 to OUTLinc for promotion of the Prairie Pride Film Festival
  • $500 to the Sandy Dennis Foundation for digital directed marketing of the Sandy Dennis Film Festival

For additional information about future grant opportunities through the Nebraska Tourism Commission, please visit https://visitnebraska.com/media/industry/category/grants.

       

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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01/28/19
Nebraska Tourism Commission celebrates National Plan for Vacation Day

PRESS RELEASE

FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Erin Lenz at 402-471-3797, or erin.lenz@nebraska.gov
Jenn Gjerde at 402-471-3768, or jenn.gjerde@nebraska.gov

Nebraska Tourism Commission celebrates National Plan for Vacation Day

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LINCOLN, Neb. (January 28, 2019) – Many people think of Nebraska as flat, boring, featureless and unappealing. But for those willing to look deeper and discover what makes Nebraska special, prepare to be dazzled. As part of National Plan for Vacation Day on January 29, Nebraska Tourism Commission is encouraging travelers to discover the state for themselves and plan a trip to Nebraska in 2019.

Every year more than half of Americans (52%) fail to use all their time off, creating a stock pile of 705 million unused vacation days, up from 662 million days the year before.

“Nebraska Tourism is celebrating National Plan for Vacation Day because we want to encourage Americans to take their well-deserved time off,” said John Ricks, Nebraska Tourism Commission executive director. “By committing to planning on January 29, Americans can all reap the benefits of taking a break while giving yourself something to look forward to. Nebraska might not be your cup of tea, but if you can appreciate the majestic beauty, wide-open spaces and exploration the state provides, then welcome!”

The most effective remedy for American workers who want to use more vacation days is better planning. Yet just over half (52%) of households set aside time to plan the use of their vacation time each year.

Research shows that planners have a distinct advantage over non-planners: They use more of their time, take longer vacations, and are happier.

53 percent of planners took all of their vacation time vs. 43 percent of non-planners. Planners are also more likely than non-planners to use all or most of their time off to travel (33% to 18%).

More planners report they are “very” or “extremely” happy with their personal relationships (81% vs. 68%), health and well-being (56% vs. 43%), company (57% vs. 50%), and job (56% vs. 48%) compared to non-planners.

To help employees get their vacation days on the calendar, U.S. Travel Association created a vacation planning tool. By simply entering the number of days off earned, users can plot out their trips or vacations for the year, export to their work or personal calendar, and share with their family and co-workers.

Not convinced to start planning a 2019 vacation yet? Order a free Nebraska state travel guide and start planning. Additional Nebraska travel ideas can be found at VisitNebraska.com or the Visit Nebraska Facebook page.

National Plan for Vacation Day is celebrated the last Tuesday in January as a day to encourage Americans to plan their vacation days for the rest of the year at the start of the year.

     

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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01/24/19
Nebraska Tourism Commission receives awards

PRESS RELEASE

FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Erin Lenz at 402-471-3797, or erin.lenz@nebraska.gov
Jenn Gjerde at 402-471-3768, or jenn.gjerde@nebraska.gov

Nebraska Tourism Commission receives awards 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LINCOLN, Neb. (January 24, 2019) – The Nebraska Tourism Commission received six awards in January celebrating their efforts to promote tourism in the state during 2018.

On Jan. 22, the Nebraska Tourism Commission accepted a Gold HSMAI Adrian Award, in collaboration with TURNER PR, for efforts that resulted in a National Geographic article about the sandhill crane migration. After TURNER PR successfully pitched to National Geographic, arrangements were made for writer Elaina Zachos and field producer Amy Rankin to come to Nebraska and experience the cranes. Interviews with biologists, environmentalists and local sources were organized and lodging at the Crane Trust legacy cabins and expert-led blind viewing experiences were arranged. The trip resulted in a feature article and video about the crane migration that reached over 26 million unique visitors.

The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Adrian Awards selects winners from a field of nearly 1,200 entries submitted by senior industry and media experts. The Adrian Awards recognize hospitality brands and agencies for creativity and innovation in advertising, digital marketing and public relations.

Additionally, on Jan. 24, the Nebraska Tourism Commission took home five awards at the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Nebraska 2018 Paper Anvil Awards Gala. The PRSA Nebraska Paper Anvil Awards honor the master strategists of public relations who create compelling public relations campaigns, programs and tactics.

“It’s truly an honor to receive an Adrian Award and multiple PRSA Nebraska awards. We’ve worked hard the last couple of years to increase Nebraska’s presence not only to travelers but to the tourism industry as well. Winning these awards is a true testament to our staff’s hard work,” said John Ricks, Nebraska Tourism Commission executive director.

The Nebraska Passport Program took home the Best of Show award for its 2018 season where 749 participants finished all stops. Along with Best of Show, Nebraska Tourism Commission won awards for the following:

  • Award of Excellence, highest score in Events and Observations category: Promotion of the sandhill crane migration
  • Award of Excellence, highest score in Marketing Consumer Services category: Nebraska Passport Program
  • Award of Excellence, highest score in Special Projects category: Nebraska Passport Program
  • Award of Merit, Integrated Communications category: Nebraska Tourism campaign announcement

Nebraska Tourism executive director, John Ricks and marketing manager, Jenn Gjerde were present at the Adrian Awards Gala in New York to accept the award. Passport program coordinator, Erin Wirth and public information officer, Erin Lenz were present at the PRSA Nebraska 2018 Paper Anvil Awards Gala in Omaha. 

       

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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01/14/19
Nebraska Tourism promotes crane migration in new "honestly, it's not for everyone" campaign

PRESS RELEASE

FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Erin Lenz at 402-471-3797, or erin.lenz@nebraska.gov
Jenn Gjerde at 402-471-3768, or jenn.gjerde@nebraska.gov

Nebraska Tourism promotes crane migration in new “honestly, it’s not for everyone” campaign

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LINCOLN, Neb. (January 14, 2019) – Nebraska isn’t just fly-over country, and there are 500,000+ sandhill cranes who stop and visit every year to prove it.

The Nebraska Tourism Commission’s new campaign “Nebraska. Honestly, it’s not for everyone” hits out-of-state markets starting January 14 with a focus on promoting the sandhill crane migration.

Every spring, more than 500,000 sandhill cranes gather on Nebraska’s Platte River Valley, creating a beautiful spectacle and a one of a kind viewing experience for tourists.

“The new campaign is about targeting misperceptions people have about Nebraska. The crane migration fit into the mix because people frequently refer to the state as fly-over country,” said John Ricks, Nebraska Tourism Commission executive director. "But that's because they haven't experienced the unmitigated awesomeness of the crane migration."

Last year was the first time the Nebraska Tourism Commission promoted the crane migration to out-of-state travelers. The 2018 crane promotion ran in key out-of-state markets from January through March. Results from the campaign showed a 740 percent increase in web traffic compared year over year from each target market and saw a 10 percent increase in lodging tax collected year over year.

Television and online advertisements promoting the crane migration will run in out-of-state markets including Denver, Sioux Falls, Kansas City, Wichita and Topeka from mid-January to mid-March. The rest of the campaign will roll out in the spring.

Additionally, Nebraska Tourism is promoting the migration by hosting an event in Denver on January 17th. The event will showcase the spectacle to writers from the Denver area. Nebraska Tourism and partners from Grand Island, Kearney, North Platte and McCook will give writers a taste of the state with Nebraska inspired appetizers and local wine and beer. A short video about the crane migration and Q&A with crane experts from the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission, Crane Trust and Iain Nicolson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary will follow.

Want to join in on all the “Nebraska. Honestly, it’s not for everyone” fun? Use #HonestlyNE on social media or order “The Official 2019 Not-At-All What You Thought State Travel Guide” at VisitNebraska.com.

       

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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01/10/19
2019 Agri/Eco Tourism Workshop offers tours of successful businesses

PRESS RELEASE

FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Press Contact: Erin Lenz at 402-471-3797, or erin.lenz@nebraska.gov
Workshop Contact: Karen Kollars at 308-249-3220, or karen.kollars@nebraska.gov

2019 Agri/Eco Tourism Workshop offers tours of successful businesses

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LINCOLN, Neb. (January 10, 2019) – Get a close-up look at some of Nebraska’s successful agri/eco tourism destinations at the 2019 Agri/Eco Tourism Workshop in Ord this February, 26-28.

This year, the workshop features a bus tour that gives attendees a behind-the-scenes look at three successful agri/eco tourism operations including Calamus Outfitters, Comstock Lodge and Rowse’s 1+1 Ranch. Each destination will share the obstacles they’ve faced in diversifying their businesses, how they persevered, and the ways in which they continue to strive for success.

“The bus tour is a great addition to this year’s workshop,” said Karen Kollars, Nebraska Tourism Commission agritourism consultant. “Travelers are looking for unique and meaningful experiences and these three destinations have mastered that. I think attendees will learn a lot from these operations to take home to their own business.”

Attendees of the workshop include anyone wanting to start or grow a successful agri/eco tourism business. This includes tourism professionals, farmers, ranchers, outfitters, vineyard operators, brewers, managers of ecotourism attractions and more.

The Switzer Family runs a diversified cattle operation in addition to managing Calamus Outfitters, a nature-based tourism business offering lodging, a wide variety of river trips, bird-watching, hunting, Sandhills Safari Jeep Tours and specialty events.

Owners of Comstock Lodge in Sargent, Mitch and Roxanne Huggins run the lodge as a bed and breakfast in addition to offering elk, whitetail deer, mule deer, turkey, pheasant, quail, dove, prairie chicken, sharp-tail grouse, Hungarian partridge, hybridized bighorn sheep, bison and aoudad hunts on their extensive acreage. Tours of the ranch and lodge property are also available.

Jerry and Tammy Rowse own and manage Rowse’s 1+1 Ranch in Burwell, an esteemed ranching operation offering dude ranch vacation packages to visitors wishing to experience what it’s like to live and work as a ranch-hand.

In addition to the bus tours, the Agri/Eco-Tourism Workshop will provide networking opportunities and a great lineup of educational sessions. Keynote speakers for the workshop include dark skies advocate and performer, Michael Marlin; conservation photographer, author and Nebraska native, Michael Forsberg; and Calamus Outfitter’s co-owner and ecotourism provider, Sarah Sortum.

Additional workshop details and registration can be found at https://visitnebraska.com/media/industry/2019-agri-eco-tourism-workshop.

       

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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