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Mayors proclaim Tourism Week
May 09, 2013 Jerry Purvis   

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Photo by Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen - Tourism officials and the community’s mayors met at Scotts Bluff National Monument to proclaim May 4 – 12 as National Travel and Tourism Week. From left are Terrytown Mayor Kent Greenwalt, Gering Mayor Ed Mayo, Brenda Leisy, director of Scotts Bluff County Tourism, Karla Niedan-Streeks, director of the Gering Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Scottsbluff Mayor Randy Meininger.

The community’s three mayors met at Scotts Bluff National Monument on Monday to sign a proclamation for National Travel and Tourism Week, celebrated nationally since 1984.
“We’re extremely fortunate in all of our communities to have very supportive mayors, councils and media people who recognize the importance of tourism on a daily basis,” said Karla Niedan-Streeks, director of the Gering Convention and Visitors Bureau.

According to the proclamation, travel provides significant economic benefits to the nation. In Nebraska, tourism is the state’s third largest revenue generator.

Tourism nationwide generates about $1.9 trillion in direct economic output. An additional $1.1 trillion was generated on other industries because of tourism.

In reading the proclamation, Terrytown Mayor Kent Greenwalt said travelers made 18.5 million trips to Nebraska, spending more than $3.7 billion. In total, it attributed to an economic impact of $9.9 billion for the state.

In the local area of western Nebraska, tourism accounted for $33.7 million in direct travel spending, generating about $2.5 million in state and local tax revenues. That tourism of more than 200,000 annual visitors was also responsible for creating more than 620 travel-related jobs in the county.

“We have a lot of things here in western Nebraska we can brag about,” Greenwalt said. “We’re very proud of this area and tourism is very important to us.”

Scottsbluff Mayor Randy Meininger and Gering Mayor Ed Mayo both agreed the importance of tourism to the community. Meininger added that residents often take the area for granted because it’s so familiar, but everyone should remember its importance.

“Travel and tourism is a leading, viable force in driving our local economy,” Niedan-Streeks said. “It’s too important not to be recognized during this week and year-round.”
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