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.