Shirley Wichman of the Nebraska State Tourism Commission shared the impact of tourism on Nebraska and discussed the Commission's widely recognized tourism campaign, "Nebraska...Honestly, It's Not For Everyone"
The State of Nebraska Tourism Commission Representative, Shirley Wichman of Lincoln, addressed the Seward Rotary Club on Wednesday, July 20th, 2022, at noon at the Seward Jones Bank Auditorium.  Shirley Wichman is a Nebraska native and was born in Humbolt, and graduated from Falls City High School.  She knows and loves to promote Nebraska and has been with the State Tourism program for decades.
She presented an informative power point presentation on information centered on Nebraska Tourism.  She pointed out that there are eleven commissioners for the Nebraska Tourism Commission and that the State Tourism Division has eleven staff members in the department.  The annual budget for the Nebraska Tourism Division is $7.2 million, which is all cash from the Nebraska State Lodging Tax.  She noted that the COVID -19 impact, actual budget will be closer to $6.2 million.  Shirley pointed out that the Social Media exposure is up over 20% from the previous years and that the State Tourism Office prints and distributes over 200,000 Nebraska Travel Guides  called the “Nebraska Traveler” each year, with the tourism advertising beginning every March.
She noted the County Lodging tax numbers for May are posted on the website: 2022State and County Lodging Tax Collection / and noted that in May of 2019 the May collections were 624,454.40 and today in May of 2022 there are 675,886.50.  This was the highest May the state has enjoyed since organizing and collecting lodging tax.  They have the highest lodging tax collection for the last three months have five months in the last fiscal year with the highest lodging tax collections.  Compared to the same fiscal year period last year, our funds are up 48.95%.
Shirley presented the budget summary for the Summer Promotions of 2022 with television advertising at $1,563.144, Regional Print $349.822, Local Print $44,856, Out of Town $490,093 and Digital $552,115 for a total of $300,000.00.  She shared examples of Regional Print and National Print magazine examples, billboard examples and other fun points of support.
She shared information on the Passport Program.  This is the 13th year of the Nebraska Program.  Each year, 70 stops are selected from an application process based on destination variety, geographical diversity and viewer experience and customer service. In 2021, the program had 1,185 participants that visited all 70 stops.  There were 37 states represented and 448 communities in Nebraska represented among the participants, with 74% reporting they had never had a passport before.  There was an average of 23 stamps or visits per person.  The Nebraska Passport Program brought $23,7 million in traveler spending and $1.9 million in State and Local Tax Revenue.
She shared that to participate you can use the physical Passport Booklet or the Passport App, located in the App store.  The program runs from May 1 to September 30 each year, with prizes to the various participants in the program.  She noted that Seward County has always enjoyed participants in the Passport Program every year and this year the participants are “The Nebraska National Guard Museum” in Seward” and “Old Cottonwood” in Utica.  Previous Ne Passport sites in Seward County included Innermaker B and B, Liberty House B and B, Bottle Rocket Brewery, Chapters Books and Gifts, Red Path Gallery and Tasting Room, Junto Winery, Chez Bubba Bar-B-Que in Goehner and Milford Market the Dragon Fly Restaurant in Milford.
Shirley commented on the success of the new Nebraska State Tourism Campaign-“Nebraska-It’s Not for Everyone!”  She noted that the CBS Weekend Story will be featuring the State Tourism Campaign and that the campaign will also be featured on the Weather Channel promoting the Nebraska Passport Program. 
She shared examples of the print media that promotes the “Nebraska – It’s Not for Everyone!” Questions and comments followed the presentation thanking her for the creative program and efforts to put Nebraska on the map. Shirley was presented with some Seward gifts of appreciation from the Seward Rotary Club in appreciation for her presentation and the work of the State Tourism office.
For more information contact Shirley Wichman at the State Tourism Commission in Lincoln at 402-471-3755 or visit online at