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State celebrates National Travel and Tourism Week

LINCOLN, NEB. (May 3, 2013)—Sen. Ken Schilz and state officials celebrated National Travel and Tourism Week by kicking off programs that promote travel opportunities across the state.

National Travel and Tourism Week, celebrated during the first full week of May, is the annual salute to travel in America and its value to the U.S. economy. In 2012, travelers spurred $2 trillion in spending, resulting in $129 billion in tax revenues. This spending also supports 14.6 million American jobs – jobs that cannot be outsourced.

Here in Nebraska, direct travel spending exceeded $3.1 billion in 2012, generated $15,878,674 in tax revenue and supported 45,600 jobs. In fact, tourism is one of the state’s top three industries, alongside agriculture and manufacturing.

National Travel and Tourism Week is an opportunity to highlight the benefits of traveling in our own state. Travelers dine out, sleep at hotels, attend events, tour attractions and buy souvenirs, among other things, all of which support small businesses and reduce the tax burden on local communities.

Today, the Nebraska Tourism Commission and the Game and Parks Commission are launching the 2013 Nebraska Passport program and the Great Park Pursuit.

“National Tourism Week is a great opportunity to kick off the summer season,” said Jim Douglas, director of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “In partnership with the Nebraska Tourism Commission we are happy to say that the state park system provides some of the best tourist attractions in the state, where people come together and memories are made.”

The official state Passport program encourages travelers to explore Nebraska, collect stamps from participating attractions and then redeem them for prizes. The 2013 Passport features 80 attractions on 10 themed tours.

“The 2013 Passport promotes opportunities for summer travel across the state,” said Tourism Executive Director Kathy McKillip. “We’ve created some new partnerships and innovations to make this year’s Passport even better. People love this program, and last year more than 19,000 households participated. We expect to see that number increase this summer as people travel and stimulate the state’s economy.”

A partnership with the Nebraska Hotel & Motel Association will provide lodging discounts to Passport participants who mention the program when making a reservation at a NHMA member’s establishment and who show their passport when checking in. A list of hotels can be found at

“The Nebraska Hotel & Motel Association is proud to be cooperating with the Nebraska Tourism Commission and the travel industry in the 2013 Passport program,” said Bob Anderson, executive director of the association. “Hotels and motels are the part of the industry that provides lodging along with food, beverages and at times other entertainment and family fun. Many lodging facilities have added family fun ventures to properties including swimming, recreation centers and water parks to enhance the travel experience in Nebraska.”

Another partnership, with Nebraska Lottery, is providing new prizes for the program. Participants have until Sept. 30 to visit attractions and redeem their stamps for prizes. For each completed tour, participants receive a Nebraska Passport T-shirt. In addition, travelers can win 20 $1 Nebraska Lottery Scratch coupons (for 20 stamps) and a digital camera (for 40 stamps). A grand-prize drawing for an iPad mini will be held in October.


An additional drawing for 300 $1 Nebraska Lottery Scratch tickets will be held for all participants, 19 and older, who turn in passports with at least one stamp.


“The Nebraska Lottery is excited to be a partner for this year’s Nebraska Passport program,” said Jim Haynes, Lottery director. “We hope that Nebraskans have a great summer exploring the attractions our state has to offer and collecting passport stamps for a chance to win Lottery prizes. And make sure to stop at one of our 1,200 retailers during your travels, because when you buy a Lottery ticket, you’re helping to build a better Nebraska.”


Passports are available at participating stops. A list of stops and more information can be found at


A second summer program, the Great Park Pursuit, promotes active lifestyles while increasing awareness of the nature-rich outdoor recreation opportunities throughout the state.


Individuals or teams can visit 20 participating parks through Sept. 16 and follow clues at each park to locate a post, where they make a tracing of a nature impression. The impressions can be mailed in for a chance to win prizes. More information and a list of parks can be found at

Order your free travel guide today at Stay connected with Nebraska Tourism on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.


Shannon Peterson at 800-228-4307, 402-471-3797


Summer travel programs encourage travel in Nebraska

Nebraska's Mahoney State Park named to Top Five by Midwest Living

LINCOLN, NEB. (April 29, 2013)—Eugene T. Mahoney State Park is in the limelight this month as it was named to Midwest Living Magazine's list of the Top Five "Supercampgrounds" in the Midwest. The Top Five crown a list of 24 regional campgrounds recommended by Midwest Living in the May issue of the magazine.

To make their selections, Midwest Living's editorial team researched hundreds of RV campgrounds in 12 states.

"We know how much Midwesterners like to camp," said Kendra Williams, senior travel editor, and the producer of the article. In fact, the National Association of Parks and Campgrounds reports that more Midwesterners (27 percent) cite camping as a hobby than people in any other region in the country. Williams added that "every amenity, from the cleanliness of the restrooms and things to do for kids, to scenic vistas and prices to summer events were factored" into their article research.

"I love that Mahoney appeals to all kinds of travelers: people who want to tent camp, RV camp, stay in a cabin—or just hang out for the day,” Williams said. “You can swim and take out pedal boats, make crafts, go horseback riding, zoom down the water slides and end your day with s’mores over a fire.

“It has all of the stuff of quintessential summer memories, and the fact that it’s so close to such a vibrant city makes it an easy place to make a home base while you also explore the Henry Doorly Zoo, the Old Market and the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha.”

Williams visited eastern Nebraska in September 2012 as part of a media tour organized by the Nebraska Tourism Commission.

“We are thrilled to see a Nebraska attraction receive this kind of honor,” said Nebraska Tourism Director Kathy McKillip. “We are working to get the word out about Nebraska’s unique amenities. To have Midwest Living recognize Nebraska’s offerings is a great accolade for our state.”

In 2012 Mahoney reported 1,126,000 visitors and was the third most visited attraction in Nebraska behind Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium and the Lake McConaughy and Lake Ogallala State Recreation Areas.

Read the Midwest Living article here:

Shannon Peterson at 800-228-4307, 402-471-3797 or