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According to statistics compiled by the Nebraska Division of Travel and Tourism (NDOTT), travelers spent over $3-billion in Nebraska in 2006, and that income supported over 42,000 Nebraska jobs and numerous new Nebraska businesses. In addition to these economic impacts, the potential benefits of tourism as a development strategy include contributions to the tax base, development of community facilities, increased pride in communities and cultures, expanded civic involvement, conservation of shared resources and infrastructure improvements.
Nebraska has the potential to expand its tourist economy. Pine and Gilmore (1999) have written of the emergence of an important "experience economy" in which consumers are seeking out unique experiences, not just consuming products and services. Tourism in Nebraska caters to the experience seeker with outdoor recreation, historical attractions and events and festivals that portray the culture of communities and regions. Nebraska is well-suited to compete in this growing segment of the tourism industry.
In an attempt to better understand travel and tourism from the consumer’s perspective, this report will examine data from a variety of sources, including two studies conducted in Western Nebraska.