|Study tracks economic effects of travel, tourism|
A new study completed for the Nebraska Department of Economic Development’s Travel and Tourism Division indicates that travel and tourism has contributed meaningfully to the economies of all the state’s 93 counties.
Dean Runyan Associates conducted the study that breaks down the economic effects of the travel industry, county by county. The company has conducted similar research for a number of other states.
For most of Nebraska’s counties, the study reports 2008 data on direct travel spending by visitors, the resulting earnings and employment and local and state tax revenues generated.
For those 31 counties recording the greatest travel spending, breakdowns are shown by industry (accommodations, retail, transportation, etc.) and for each of six years from 2003 through 2008.
In Chase County, travel/tourism spending totaled $5,734,000 in 2008, according to the study.
“This is the most detailed study of the economic effects of travel and tourism in Nebraska’s counties yet produced,” said Christian Hornbaker, Travel and Tourism Division director. “For many years, we’ve reported the large and steadily growing contribution of the industry to the overall state economy. However this study now details the industry’s local effects, too.”
Omaha and Douglas County have the largest share of the travel industry of any county in the state. But as a percent of the total local economy, the industry especially stands out in Nebraska’s rural areas.
For example, in Mullen and Hooker County, it accounts for 17.5 percent of all earnings; in Thedford and Thomas County, it generates 30.8 percent of all taxable sales; and in Ogallala and Keith County, one of every 13 jobs is in the travel industry.
The study can be found online at www.visitnebraska.gov/industry.
The nation’s tourism industry will be formally recognized during National Travel and Tourism Week, May 9-17, with the official summer travel season getting underway Memorial Day weekend.