Gov. Pete Ricketts tells those attending the 2017 Nebraska Tourism Conference all their hard work prior to the Great American Eclipse paid off.
“We actually welcomed 708,000 people to our state. Isn’t that exciting?” Ricketts asks to applause during the luncheon to kick off the conference.
Dean Runyan Associates and Destination Analysts conducted an economic impact study for the Nebraska Tourism Commission, estimating eclipse-watching events generated $127 million, mostly from spending to drive and stay here.
The study estimates around 87% of those attending eclipse events in Nebraska came from out of state. On average, those who came for the eclipse on Monday, August 21st, stayed for three days, making a long weekend out of it. More than 70% of the out-of-state visitors hadn’t taken a vacation in Nebraska for the past three years. Around 40% stated they likely will return in the next two years.
Ricketts praises the cities, counties, and tourism commissions which offered special events for those coming to Nebraska. A coalition of 10 Nebraska cities held joint promotions during the total solar eclipse.
“So, this really was the biggest event we have had for tourism in our state that I can ever think of,” Ricketts tells the conference. “We have a lot of great events. We have the Berkshire-Hathaway annual meeting. We have the College World Series. But none of those can stack up to the number of people that came in to our state for the first time. So, it was a really great, exciting opportunity.”