Posts Tagged ‘economic development’

The Importance of Ecotourism By Governor Dave Heineman

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

The Importance of Ecotourism

By Governor Dave Heineman

March 26, 2012


Dear Fellow Nebraskans:


Last week, I was pleased host Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas and Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado as we met to discuss common efforts and issues related to ecotourism and economic development. In addition to discussing tourism efforts, my colleagues and I had the opportunity to view the world-renowned migration of the sandhill cranes, a significant ecotourism attraction in Nebraska.


From mid-February to mid-April each year, visitors to the Platte River valley in south-central Nebraska can enjoy the migration of 90 percent of the world’s sandhill cranes. Our location along the central flyway provides wildlife watchers the opportunity to experience the annual migration of 500,000 Sandhill cranes as they stop along a 40 mile stretch of the Platte River en route to their summer breeding grounds in Canada, Alaska and Siberia.


The abundance of rivers and waterways in our state create excellent opportunities for outdoor recreation. Our amazing state parks also play a vital role in attracting visitors. Nebraska offers a range of landscapes from pine-covered bluffs in the northwest to the rolling Sandhills and prairie grasslands of central Nebraska. There are unique and picturesque rock formations in western Nebraska, scenic river communities along the Missouri River and acres of wide open range and pastureland in between.


Ecotourism is vital in Nebraska where 97 percent of the land is privately owned. Forging partnerships with private land owners are critical in providing access to our beautiful landscapes and bountiful hunting opportunities.


According to statistics gathered by the Nebraska Division of Tourism and Travel in the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, Nebraskans and visitors to Nebraska together made more than 19 million trips in the state in 2010 to destinations 100 miles or more away from home. Travelers spent nearly $4 billion in Nebraska during 2010 on day trips more than 100 miles away and trips with overnight stays. Annual spending on these trips has increased by $2.3 billion since 1990. Jobs attributable to travel in Nebraska totaled more than 45,000 in 2010. For trips by visitors, the leading states of origin were Kansas, Iowa, Colorado, Missouri and South Dakota.


Together with hunting, fishing, birding, camping, hiking, and biking, opportunities for outdoor recreation are some of the fastest growing segments of our tourism industry. Growth in all these areas is helping to make Nebraska a tourism destination. In addition, visitors experience all the great things Nebraska has to offer, and then spread the word to friends and family members. I look forward to continued growth in ecotourism across our state.

Eight New Businesses Certified by Greener Nebraska

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Eight New Businesses Certified by Greener Nebraska


LINCOLN, NEB. (Aug. 8, 2011)—Eight Nebraska businesses recently earned certification from Greener Nebraska by meeting green performance standards.


The eight businesses qualifying for certification were:


  • Nebraska Nature & Visitor Center, Wood River
  • Western Nebraska Segway Experience Center, Scottsbluff
  • Lincoln Children’s Museum, Lincoln
  • Iain Nicolson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary, Gibbon
  • Green Acres Motel & RV Park, Red Cloud
  • Best Western Settle Inn, Omaha
  • Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center, Denton
  • Mom’s Pantry, Ogallala


Greener Nebraska, developed by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development’s Travel and Tourism Division, strives to reduce the tourism industry’s impact on the environment and to attract travelers interested in visiting green destinations. Its certification process previously had been restricted to tourism-related businesses along Nebraska’s nine Scenic Byways; the program expanded this year to help businesses across the state become more environmentally friendly.


Now that the program is open to businesses throughout the state, getting certified through Greener Nebraska is a simple and free way to promote your conservation efforts.


Visit our website,, to learn more about the program and to begin the certification process.

Safe Tourism Produces More than Merely Safe Communities. It Produces a Whole new World of Marketing Opportunities

Thursday, July 28th, 2011
for July 2011

Safe Tourism Produces More than Merely Safe Communities.  It Produces a Whole new World of Marketing Opportunities

Often the tourism industry hears the complaint that tourists do not deserve special treatment. Even some Police departments will make the false claim that they treat everyone the same, and therefore special attention provided to visitors is not only wrong but also goes beyond the parameters of community security.  Finally it is not uncommon to hear that as local citizens pay taxes they deserve better police protection.  Tourism safety ought to be everyone’s business. Tourism is a major economic generator, and tourists pay taxes both directly to places of lodging and indirectly through sales taxes or value added taxes.  Additionally, a safe tourism community is the foundation for a safe community.  This may be the reason that many in marketing are now using the term “Security Marketing”.  For too long marketing experts believed that their efforts were meant merely for television and magazine ads, catch phrases and new branding.  All of these are an important part of marketing, but the savvy marketer now knows that tourism security marketing is also an essential part not only of the product’s overall quality but also as a way that outsiders judge the product’s viability.  Tourism security is more than mere closed circuit cameras, it is the way that we watch over the person’s health concerns, the food that the visitor consumes, the lessening of risks, the development of safe and clean streets and our ability to sell a product that satisfies not only our guests but also our residents.

Below are just a few of the ways that tourism security and safety spill over into the community at large and help to better the entire community’s quality of life.

Many people outside of the of tourism and visitor industry either are unaware of or have forgotten the many benefits that tourism brings to a community’s citizens.   Among these are economic benefits such as increased job opportunities, additional sources of customers and thus increased spending, multiple- economic diversification sources with a guarantee that a community’s tourism business cannot be outsourced or moved away.  Tourism also acts a way to showcase a community and its local products and tourism requires an infrastructure of good roads, airports, and good service.  All of these serve to benefit both the visitor and local citizen alike.  From a social perspective tourism not only generates local pride but a positive sense of community.  The fact that tourism thrives best in an environmentally favorable environment means that successful tourism industry is also the key to good economic development.

To help tourism professionals  and marketers explain the importance of tourism security then to both their local government officials and to local police departments here are a few pointers that may help.

-Locals also frequent their community’s tourism districts.   Tourism districts are often the places in a community with the highest concentration of restaurants and nightlife establishments.  The local citizenry also uses and frequents these same locations.  Robbers do not know the difference between a local and a visitor, and if visitors are not safe in these districts then neither are the locals who visit these same tourism zones.

-Almost anyone visiting a community for purposes of economic development begins as a visitor.   Communities seek economic development and those people scout new locations in which to open businesses first start out as visitors.  If they do not feel safe, then the odds are that they will not come.  Protecting visitors is another way to assure economic growth and vitality.
-Most criminals are equal opportunity thieves.  It is very rare for a criminal to know or care about whom he or she is robbing.  Criminals are as prepared to steal or rob a local as well as a visitor.  On the other hand, visitors are often easier targets than are locals and criminals know that there is a lower possibility that visitors will report the crime or return to prosecute the criminal.  A community that is uninviting for criminals to prey on tourists is even less inviting for criminals to prey on the local population.
-Training restaurateurs, hoteliers, cab drivers and other tourism providers in basic tourism security provides them with the necessary tools in case some one from the local population is also attacked. Learning such key safety rules as: When we train people when to call or not to call emergency police numbers such as 911 in the United States then both members of the community and visitors are safer.  When an incident does occur the police are more likely to solve the crime if they receive an accurate and brief description of where the incident occurred, about what time it occurred and if the perpetrator is still at the scene of the crime or has fled.  Teaching locals how to describe a suspect’s race, height, weight, hair color and any other distinctive characteristics improves both local and tourism security
-Good tourism safety implies safe shopping experiences. Shopping is the number one “tourism sport.”  That means that good tourism safety demands that shoppers are able to spend money in local malls and business districts that form the commercial heart of any community. Good tourism security means that both locals and visitors alike can frequent stores and not have to worry about purse-snatchers, parking lot theft and muggers who often frequent these districts. It also means that both citizens and visitors alike need not be bothered by people harassing them or by issues of prostitution.
-Many of the basic rules of tourism security are often applicable to community security.   For example when we teach visitors tourism security principles such as: they should always park in areas that are well lit and well-traveled, not to carry and show large amounts of cash, or to be vigilant around cash machines, then we are also setting the stage for a local community’s safety.  Locals, as much as tourists, often leave valuables in their vehicles, may be harassed or even robbed by street “salesmen” or con artists, and are subject to crimes of distraction such as pickpockets.
-Both visitors and local citizens need good, safe, and well-lit streets.   Tourism security demands streets with good signage, proper lighting and streets that are pothole free.  These same basic qualities are essential for local citizens as well and not only help to prevent crime but also assure car safety.

-Private tourism security and even bouncers add to a community’s overall sense of safety.  Some communities have developed private-public partnerships so that the media, private security firms and police work together to assure that places of assembly such as bars, hotels and restaurants not only remain safe but also add to the economic vitality of a community.

Download your 2011 National Travel and Tourism Week Toolkit

Sunday, May 8th, 2011


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



Download your 2011 National Travel and Tourism Week Toolkit

LINCOLN, NEB. (April 26, 2011)—May 7–15 is National Travel and Tourism Week and See Nebraska Week. Join hundreds of cities and businesses nationwide and throughout Nebraska in this annual salute to travel and tourism in America.

This year, the U.S. Travel Association is providing the industry with a number of free, useful resources to help you plan and stage effective tourism week activities at An online toolkit includes celebration ideas, social media tips, a fact sheet, and graphics.

A Nebraska tourism fact sheet, prepared by the Department of Economic Development’s Travel and Tourism Division, can be found at

National Travel and Tourism Week is a collective effort to promote the power of travel through community events, enhance the country’s economy, and recognize cultural and social benefits created by travel and tourism.

Gov. Heineman Declares May 8 – 16 as ‘See Nebraska Week’

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

(Lincoln, Neb.) Gov. Dave Heineman today kicked-off ‘See Nebraska Week,’ which runs from May 8 to 16 and encourages Nebraskans and other travelers to learn more about vacation options in Nebraska. Several new tourism campaigns were developed this year to promote opportunities for summer travel across the state.

“We want to encourage more Nebraskans and their families to take advantage of travel opportunities throughout the state,” Gov. Heineman said. “Visiting a site along one of our nine scenic byways or exploring our state’s history on a road trip will lend the traveler not just an off-the-beaten-path experience, but a summer full of memories.”

Travelers in Nebraska spent more than $3.7 billion in Nebraska on overnight trips in 2009, and annual spending in the state has increased by more than $2 billion since 1990. Nebraska’s tourism industry provides more than 42,000 jobs and is the third leading industry in the state.

The Nebraska Byways Passport program highlights the many destinations along the state’s scenic byways. Travelers are encouraged to pick up a souvenir passport at one of 27 participating locations along Nebraska’s nine scenic byways and collect stamps from each location visited for a chance to win a prize.

The Division of Travel and Tourism has also created a program encouraging young people to help plan their family vacation. The History Along Nebraska’s Byways program supplements the Nebraska history curriculum offered to fourth graders and will be distributed to 1,140 schools across the state. Designed with the help of educators, the materials include a Nebraska map with icons for various historical locations across the state, a Nebraska byway history video and classroom activities including crafts, worksheets, interactive games, and field trip activities. Subjects include state symbols, American Indians, map reading, explorers, pioneers, forts and military bases, among other topics. More information is available online at

The division is also offering a new RVNebraska brochure with information to make the most of a trip along Nebraska’s scenic byways, including details on campgrounds along byway routes and top attractions.

Nebraska remains one of the most cost-effective destinations in the nation for travelers. AAA consistently names Nebraska one of the top five most affordable vacation destinations in the United States, with average daily vacation costs for a family of four well below the national average.

Richard Baier, Director of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, said, “Nebraska offers travelers great value and great attractions. After a long winter, this summer is a good time to get out and see a new part of the state.”

Travelers can find interactive maps, road trip ideas, trip planners and more online at

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