Posts Tagged ‘Henry Fonda Award’

2011 Nebraska Travel Industry Award Winners Announced

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

2011 Nebraska Travel Industry Award Winners Announced

OMAHA, NEB. (Oct. 20, 2011)—More than 150 tourism professionals were on hand to honor their peers at the annual travel awards banquet Thursday evening at the Ramada Plaza Omaha Hotel and Convention Center – CoCo Key Water Resort. The event capped the 36th Annual Nebraska Travel and Tourism Conference organized by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development’s Travel and Tourism Division and hosted by the Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Gov. Dave Heineman announced the following 2011 Nebraska Travel Industry award winners.

The 2011 Henry Fonda Award – the state’s highest tourism award representing leadership, vision and dedication to the tourism industry – went to Jane and Randel Smith of Brownville. Between 1960 and 1980, this couple started the Brownville Village Theatre, served as presidents of the Brownville Historical Society, organized the town to promote tourism with the preservation of the historic buildings on Main Street, and started Outfitters Row, which brought many tourism businesses and shops to the community. The Smiths started offering riverboat tours in 1970 aboard the Belle of Brownville. They built a campground and facilities to accommodate travelers, and later brought another excursion boat to town, the Spirit of Brownville.

With their “build it and they will come” attitude, this couple pushed forward and opened the Lyceum, a bookstore/restaurant which has become Brownville’s primary meeting space and the heart of the community. In 2009, they opened the River Inn Resort on the banks of the Missouri River. This unique, full service meeting place and B&B is noted for being the only floating lodging facility in the state.

The Friend of Tourism Award went to the Cornhusker Motor Club Foundation. Over the years, this Omaha-based foundation has developed or supported a variety of tourism-related projects across the state, including complimentary roadside assistance to stranded motorists, funds for the construction of green cabins in Ponca State Park, and money for wheelchair-accessible fishing piers and walkways at Lake Cunningham and Ponca State Park.

The Outstanding Event Award for communities with populations up to 10,000 went to Swedish Days in Holdrege. What began 36 years ago as a small event honoring the town’s Swedish heritage, has turned into a fun-filled, two-day festival that attracts thousands of visitors to this town of 5,200 people. Hundreds of volunteers, organizations and residents dedicate countless hours to this festival, which includes a fun run, car show, downtown street festival, parade and vendors from across the state.

The Outstanding Event Award for communities with populations greater than 10,000 was given to North Platte’s NEBRASKAland Days. For more than 45 years, this western festival has drawn visitors from around the world to celebrate Nebraska’s frontier history and its connection to that most famous western entertainer, Buffalo Bill Cody. During this year’s festival, nearly $7 million dollars were pumped into the local economy by more than 120,000 visitors from 230 Nebraska cities and 34 U.S. states.

The Outstanding Tourism Association Award was won by Golf the North. This alliance of residents, businesses, golf courses, lodging properties, restaurants and local tourism attractions put together an outstanding golf tour of five nine-hole courses. The package gives visitors a relaxing golf outing and offers a fun and cost effective way to travel throughout northeast Nebraska.

The Outstanding Tourism Campaign Award went to the Lincoln Convention & Visitors Bureau for its “Be a Tourist in Your Own Home Town” summer passport program. The program has encouraged thousands of area residents to explore 25 of the Capital City’s tourism attractions, festivals and businesses. This year, a mascot, Trip, was introduced to promote the program. He even traveled across the state and visited the Interstate 80 welcome centers to spread the news about all the tourism opportunities in Lincoln.

The Outstanding Tourism Publication Award was won by Cherry County Tourism. More than 20 years ago, the Valentine/Cherry County tourism guide was a black and white newsprint magazine. Today, it’s a full-color, glossy, magazine-size publication. The publication is full of interesting articles, photographs and advertisements all designed to entice visitors to the scenic region of north central Nebraska along the Niobrara River.

The Outstanding Website Award went to the Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art in David City. Since the website’s upgrade in April 2010, attendance at the museum has increased by 20 percent. The exceptional site (www.bonecreek.org/) has helped this one-of-a-kind museum become one of the top tourist destinations in Butler County.

The Outstanding Tourism Attraction Award was given to The Great Platte River Road Archway near Kearney. The nation’s only tourist attraction built over a federal interstate, the archway is an exceptional attraction visited by nearly 100,000 people last year. In the past two years, it has seen a marked upswing in attendance and has helped to increase the average tourist’s visit in Kearney from one hour to more than two hours, sometimes for the entire day. Seventy-five percent of the Archway’s annual visitors hail from other states or countries.

The Outstanding Nature-Tourism Entity Award celebrates the state’s many outdoor recreational pastimes and activities. This year’s winner was Arbor Day Farm. This Nebraska City attraction is a 260-acre living laboratory of environmental stewardship and conservation. Nearly 250,000 people visit Arbor Day Farm each year to explore its many nature-based tourism activities. Its greenhouse tours allow visitors to see firsthand where tens of thousands of tree seedlings get started.

2010 Nebraska Travel Industry Award Winners Announced

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

2010 Nebraska Travel Industry Award Winners Announced

LINCOLN, NEB. (Oct. 14, 2010)—More than 150 tourism professionals were on hand to honor their peers at the annual travel awards banquet Thursday evening at The Cornhusker, A Mariott Hotel, in Lincoln. The event capped the 35th Annual Nebraska Travel and Tourism Conference organized by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development’s Travel and Tourism Division and hosted by the Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Lieutenant Gov. Rick Sheehy announced the following 2010 Nebraska Travel Industry award winners.

The 2010 Henry Fonda Award – the state’s highest tourism award representing leadership, vision and dedication to the tourism industry – went to Chard Hirsch of Broken Bow, who has been an avid spokesperson and supporter for her community, county and the Sandhills Region for most of her life. Through the year’s she’s won Outstanding Elementary Teacher of the Year, Elks Outstanding Citizen of the Year, Junior Chamber of Commerce Boss of the Year, Outstanding Nebraska Retailer, Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year, and the KOLN/KGIN “People You Can Count On” Award.

For the past six years, Hirsch has been active in promoting and developing tourism along the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway. She was active in bringing the scenic byway interpretive center to Broken Bow and regularly volunteers her time there to share the byway’s history with visitors.

The Friend of Tourism Award went to the Nebraska Humanities Council. The council showcased Omaha’s artistic and cultural sides by hosting the Federation of State Humanities Council’s 2009 National Humanities Conference. More than 300 attendees representing every state spent two fun-filled days in Nebraska’s largest city. Conference attendees represented the cultural leadership of the U.S., and the time they spent in Nebraska changed their views about our state; so much so that many pledged to return later and vacation here.

The Outstanding Event Award for communities with populations up to 10,000, went to Nebraska’s Big Rodeo in Burwell. Since 1921, this town of 1,100 people has hosted one of the biggest events in central Nebraska. This year, every motel, hotel, bed & breakfast, RV park and campground from Burwell to Ord and surrounding counties was booked solid to accommodate the more than 20,000 rodeo visitors.

The Outstanding Event Award for communities with populations greater than 10,000 was given to Kool-Aid Days in Hastings. When Edwin Perkins invented Kool-Aid in 1927, he couldn’t have imagined it would one day lead to an annual festival. What began in 1998 as a way for the Hastings Museum to celebrate its new Kool-Aid exhibit has since grown into a three-day, community-wide celebration that attracted 40,000 people in 2010.

The Outstanding Tourism Association Award was won by Beatrice 20/20 Vision. This grassroots organization uses creative and forward thinking ideas to promote and develop the Big Blue River watershed as a recreational destination. What began as a project to clean up the river quickly turned into a campaign to increase the river’s economic, social and tourism potential.

The Outstanding Tourism Campaign Award went to Scotts Bluff County Tourism. “Nebraska’s Landmark Country,” the new marketing brand for Scott Bluff County, takes advantage of two scenic wonders unique to the region, Scotts Bluff National Monument and Chimney Rock National Historic Site. “Nebraska like you’ve never seen it” is the brand’s tag line and it promotes the area as a place that will inspire and surprise visitors with its stunning natural land formations and wild beauty.

The Outstanding Tourism Publication Award was won by the Lexington Visitors Guide. Published by the Lexington Clipper-Herald Newspaper, the guides’s 35 pages are packed with everything there is to know about the city. Colorful photographs show visitors how much fun they can expect to have in Lexington, whether exploring the Heartland Museum of Military Vehicles, fishing or bird watching, hunting, or visiting the Antique Extravaganza or the Dawson County Fair.

The Outstanding Website Award went to the Nebraska Association of Bed and Breakfasts. Members of the association are continually working to increase membership, promote the state’s many B&B’s and stay current with the latest marketing trends and ideas. In 2009, the site was completely redesigned, including a new address (www.nebraskabb.com), an interactive map and the latest technology. Members can update and edit content, upload photographs and information, and promote their B&B to particular target markets.

The Outstanding Tourism Attraction Award was given to the Cedar Run ATV Trail. The trail – on exposed sections of the lake bed – began as a way to bring outside tourism revenue to Harlan County Lake when water levels dropped due to a multi-year drought. When water levels rebounded, an innovative partnership between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Harlan County Tourism, Harlan County Community Foundation and the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission garnered the support and funds to create the Cedar Run ATV Trail. Local lodging tax revenue more than doubled during the past two years, due in part to its promotion as a haven for ATV riders.

The Outstanding Nature-Tourism Entity Award celebrates the state’s many outdoor recreational pastimes and activities. This year’s winner was Calamus Outfitters/Switzer Ranch. The ranch is a 12,000-acre operation located in Loup County near Calamus Reservoir. Since 2000, the ranch has become an outdoor recreational paradise offering lodging, hunting, trail rides, bird and wildlife viewing, and canoeing, tanking, and tubing trips, and unique Sandhills Safari Tours. The ranch also has become a haven for bird watchers, with participation in its bird watching tours increasing from 50 in 2005 to more than 500 in 2009.



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