LINCOLN, Neb. (December 2, 2015)— State lawmakers are looking at growing tourism in Nebraska. The Nebraska Legislature Appropriations Committee held a hearing Tuesday, to discuss future funding options for state tourism. The hearing is part of an interim study introduced by Senator Adam Morfeld of Lincoln and Senator John Stinner of Scottsbluff.
“Developing the tourism industry is vital to not only getting people to visit and invest in Nebraska, but also in convincing them to stay and make Nebraska home,” said Morfeld.
Nebraska Tourism Commission Executive Director, Kathy McKillip, testified Tuesday, saying, “LR 321 presents the opportunity to clearly recognize that our state has unique and valuable points of interest and experiences to behold something different, something good and, more importantly, something that today’s traveler is craving to experience.”
The interim study examines the following issues:
- The criteria by which to designate specific tourism sites or specifically identify three to six existing tourism sites, or potential tourism sites, that have the ability to attract national and international visitors
-The amount of funding necessary to properly develop tourism sites as a source of economic development
-The guidelines that should be used for developing these tourism sites
-Efforts and strategies in similarly situated states in funding specific tourism sites that lead to economic development
-The role of political subdivisions in the promotion and development of tourism sites
“We would suggest that the State Tourism Commission is ideally situated to assist in this effort, and generally speaking, the criteria should support community collaboration, which maximizes the economic return on both public and private investments, and enhance the quality of life in communities across the state, while increasing awareness of Nebraska’s assets and generating revenue from traveler spending,” said McKillip.
Lincoln Mayor, Chris Beutler also testified at the hearing. He added, "Tourism is also a very lucrative form of economic development—people come, spend their money, and then go home. Now is the time to recognize the importance of tourism as an industry in our State. "