May 4, 2012
Dear Fellow Nebraskans:
This is a good time to make plans to explore Nebraska, and the 2012 Nebraska Passport is a good way to get started. The Passport program offers travelers a road map of places to visit during Nebraska’s peak summer travel season.
The third annual Passport program builds on the success of last year’s tour of 33 stops. In 2012, the program has expanded to 80 stops organized into 10 special interest tours: culinary, culture, family fun, festivals, golf, GROW Nebraska, parks, unique accommodations, water adventure and wineries. These themed tours allow participants to tailor their travels to match their interest.
Travelers can sample fine Nebraska wines and products; savor the house specialties at eclectic eateries; explore history, art, local festivals and unique lodging facilities; or get active at the state’s parks, waterways and golf courses.
The promotion highlights historic treasures including: Homestead National Monument of America in Beatrice, the State Capitol in Lincoln, the Argo Hotel in Crofton, Fort Robinson State Park in Crawford and Glur’s Tavern in Columbus. It features unique attractions such as River Inn Resort in Brownville, Mac’s Creek Winery & Vineyards in Lexington, Ricky and Lucy’s Country Greenhouse near Sidney, Sandstone Grill in Burwell and Kool-Aid Days in Hastings.
There are opportunities for outdoor recreation at stops including: Heritage Hills golf course in McCook, Rocky Ford Outfitters in Valentine, Glidden Canoe Rental in Mullen, Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area in Gering and Arbor Lodge State Historical Park in Nebraska City.
Souvenir passports are now available at all of the locations selected to be part of this year’s promotion. Travelers collecting stamps from each location visited can win prizes.
The Passport stops represent only a few of the diverse activities and destinations our state has to offer. Whether you’re looking for a short getaway or a vacation destination, Nebraska is rich in opportunities to take in beautiful views along scenic byways, to explore nature through ecotourism, to experience excellent golf courses, and much, much more.
The tourism and travel industry has an important economic impact on our state. It generates more than $4 billion a year. Total travel expenditures in Nebraska have increased by more than $2.4 billion from 1990-2011. According to the Division of Tourism, in 2011, tourism accounted for more than 45,600 jobs statewide in areas including bed and breakfast owners, outfitters that provide canoeing and kayaking along the Niobrara River, taxi drivers, hotel employees, and people who work at attractions around the state from Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo to Minden’s Pioneer Village.
Travelers will find that their lodging, dining and entertainment dollars go further in Nebraska because our state remains one of the nation’s most cost-effective destinations. So I encourage Nebraskans and those in surrounding states to get out and explore Nebraska this year.
More information is available online at VisitNebraska.gov, http://www.nebraskapassport.com. Connect with Nebraska Tourism through the Visit Nebraska Facebook page at www.facebook.com/visitnebraska, on Twitter @NebraskaTourism and on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/nebraskatourism.