National Tourism Week to be commemorated locally

Dave Strang/RRN/KNEB

GERING, NE) National Travel and Tourism Week champions the power of travel and tourism across the nation; locally it is an opportunity to celebrate how the tourism industry contributes to the local economies, business development, employment and overall quality of life in Gering, Scottsbluff, Terrytown and Scotts Bluff County. Joining cities and convention and visitors bureaus nationwide that champion travel and tourism, the Gering Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), the Scotts Bluff Area Visitors Bureau (SBAVB) and the Scottsbluff-Gering United Chamber will host a week of special events to commemorate National Tourism Week - May 5-11, 2014.

Local attractions and conference facilities host some 200,000+ leisure visitors and conference delegates annually; in turn they create an annual influx of over $44.7 million in direct travel spending in our area that generates of $3.18 million in state and local revenues from tourism expenditures. Tourism is responsible for creating 680 tourism jobs in Scotts Bluff County. Local residents, businesses and tourism stakeholders are encouraged to join us in celebrating our travel and tourism industry and the positive economic effects it has on our cities and county.

Schedule of 2014 Travel and Tourism Week Events & Celebrations

Monday, May 5th

Proclamation Ceremony
9:00 a.m. – Scotts Bluff County Courthouse Front Lawn
Join the Mayors of Gering, Scottsbluff and Terrytown and County Commission Chairman for the reading and signing of the official proclamation of Travel and Tourism Week in the tri-cities and county. Dignitaries will make a "grand arrival" at the ceremony by horse-drawn buggy; the media and tourism industry partners are invited for the ceremony and "I Love Tourism" refreshments.

Tuesday, May 6th

Wear Red for Tourism Day in Gering & Scottsbluff – All Day
For at least two decades, wearing RED during Travel and Tourism Week has signaled unity among travel and tourism workers and supporters. Industry stakeholders, frontline employees, elected officials and residents are encouraged to wear red on Tuesday, May 6th and let the bold color demonstrate local support for the tourism industry.

Airport Appreciation Day
10:00 am – At Western Nebraska Regional Airport
Join tourism leaders at the Airport for the official unveiling of two new information racks that will greet visitors flying into our area for business and pleasure visits.

The Hampton Inn & Suites – Salute to Tourism Cookout
11:00 am to 1:00 pm – West Highway 26 in Scottsbluff
The staff and management of the Hampton Inn & Suites salute Tourism Week and the local faces of travel and tourism in our communities with a FREE "Cookout" in the parking lot of the hotel; grilling and serving hamburgers and hot dogs for all who attend. Stop by and visit with World Champion Dean Gorsuch; and join the local media and industry employees for a great meal and a salute to tourism. For more information, contact Bekah Gorsuch, General Manager at the Hampton Inn & Suites at 308.635.5200.

Wednesday, May 7th

Tourism Toolkit Tour for Frontline Employees
9:00 am to 12:00 Noon
Have fun in your job this summer, be prepared to assist visitors and answer tourism questions! The Gering Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Scotts Bluff Area Visitors Bureau are sponsoring a Tourism Toolkit Tour for frontline employees at attractions, hotels, restaurants, retail and service businesses. A unique opportunity to spend a fun-informative morning on a bus touring local attractions. The tour is free of charge; participants get prepared for the busy tourism season by gaining current information, brushing up their customer service skills and receiving their very own "Tourism Toolkit" that includes everything they need to be successful and assisting visitors who come to their business and ask "what there is to see and do in our area"?

Gering Business Club Picnic Lunch at Scotts Bluff National Monument
12:00 Noon to 1:00 pm
Members of Gering Business Club will hold a special end of season picnic lunch at the Monument; dining in the picnic area and learning about what's new coming to the Monument this summer. Advance reservations are required to attend; cost is $8.00 per person; reservations can be made by contacting the Gering CVB at 308.436.6886.

Thursday, May 8th

Kick-Off of the 2014 Nebraska Passport Program at Local Designated Stops
All Day
Five local attractions have been designated as official stops on the 2014 Nebraska Passport Program; visitors and residents that start their Passport tour at these local stops on May 8th will also receive a free gift courtesy of the Scotts Bluff Area Visitors Bureau and the Gering Convention & Visitors Bureau. Local attractions designated on the 2014 Passport Tours are:
Victory Hill Farm in Scottsbluff
Riverside Discovery Center in Scottsbluff
Legacy of the Plains Museum in Gering
Wildcat Hills Nature Center in Gering
Agate Fossil Beds National Monument in Harrison

Special Events and Tourism Deals at Platte Valley Attractions Member Locations
All Day
Get out and visit what's in your own backyard during Tourism Week; receive reduced admittance rates and great deals in lodging at selected Platte Valley Attractions member locations. (Listed below are the Tourism Week Events & Deals):
Barn Anew Bed & Breakfast - $10.00 off your stay during National Tourism week
Legacy of the Plains Museum – Register to win a special tourism gift basket
Riverside Discovery Center - $1.00 off of your entrance admission
Scotts Bluff National Monument:
May 3rd – National Parks Program in the Visitors Center at 10:00 am
May 4th – Pioneer Cooking Demonstration at 1:30 pm
May 10th – National Parks Program in the Visitors Center at 10:00 am
Pioneer Trails Museum – Bayard – May 8th – Demonstration of historical horse training at 1:00 pm
Kimball Welcome Center – May 10th – 4:00-6:00 pm - Brands and BBQ Event; $5.00 pp; bring your branding irons

Gering Convention & Visitors Bureau Annual Meeting & Tourism Stakeholders Reception
5:00 pm to 7:00 pm – By Invitation Only
Gering Civic Center
Members of the Gering Convention & Visitors Bureau and the CVB's tourism industry leaders will come together to celebrate tourism, honor the 2014 Gering Civic Volunteer Buddy Award winner and commemorate National Tourism Week with a salute to stakeholders who influence a positive travel experience for Gering's visitors. Reception is by invitation only.

Friday, May 9th

Roger Brooks Seminar – "Attracting Visitors to Our Downtown Destinations"
8:00 am to Noon
Gering Civic Center
Scotts Bluff Area Visitors Bureau, Gering Convention & Visitors Bureau, Scottsbluff-Gering United Chamber and Gering's Keno Committee invite local and area residents to a National Tourism Week event featuring nationally recognized speaker and marketing expert Roger Brooks. Brooks is an expert in the fields of tourism, community branding, downtown development and destination marketing. Over the past 30 years he has helped transform ordinary places, businesses and attractions into incredibly successful destinations. Mr. Brook's seminar will focus on "Downtown Revitalization" and "Attracting Tourism to the Downtown Areas". Tickets are $20.00; free books for the first 50 registrants. Call 308.632.2133 or email chamber@scottsbluffgering.net for tickets. Breakfast and refreshment breaks will be provided.

The first full week of May is annually recognized as National Travel and Tourism Week; a tradition first celebrated in 1984. Events are conducted in cities, states and travel businesses nationwide to champion the power of tourism. National Tourism Week was established when the U.S. Congress passed a joint resolution in 1993 designating the week to be celebrated in May. In a White House ceremony, President Ronald Reagan signed a Presidential Proclamation urging citizens to observe the appropriate ceremonies and activities.

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