Tourism numbers rise despite record gas prices

About a month is left in the summer travel season and Nebraska tourism officials say the Husker State’s done very well attracting visitors during June and July. Christian Hornbaker, director of state Travel and Tourism, says the numbers look exceptional, especially in light of gasoline prices climbing to record levels over four-bucks a gallon before dropping off slightly.
Hornbaker says, “We’re still seeing an increase in our lodging tax receipts that are out there, one of our primary indicators of where people are traveling, how much they’re spending on hotel rooms and where we’re getting our marketing budget from as well.”
He says a recent national survey found another reason for Nebraska residents — and out-of-staters — to plan a vacation here. “They can still continue to travel with gas prices the way they are,” Hornbaker says. “People realize that Nebraska is one of the least expensive states to travel. We’re actually the second-least expensive state to travel in, in the United States. They’re staying close to home.”
Over the past two years, Nebraska saw ten-percent increases in tourism numbers. While gasoline prices and other economic woes may prevent a three-peat, Hornbaker says the state’s tourism industry is still booming. He says: “We’ve seen the benefit of being a very inexpensive state to travel in, having a lot of great places to go to, a lot of outdoor activities, floating, canoeing, hiking, biking. Nebraska’s definitely got an advantage of that.” Hornbaker says he anticipates tourism will be up at least five-percent this year, based on lodging tax receipts.
Thanks to Alisa Nelson, KLIN, Lincoln