We made a quick trip to Lincoln this past week to meet with the staff of the Nebraska Division of Travel and Tourism, and to host a reception for Meeting Planners, in the hopes of enticing them to bring their next meeting or convention to North Platte.
My son, whom I commandeered to help carry our booth furnishings from the parking garage into the Lied Center asked a good question. "If you're in competition with all these other Convention and Visitor's Bureaus, why do you all get along so well?"
The absolute truth is that unfortunately, sometimes we don't get along so well. But for the most part, there is a lot of camaraderie within the tourism industry. We are usually firm believers in the adage that "a rising tide floats all the boats." So if a meeting planner selects Grand Island to host their meeting, then maybe next time they'll think about coming as far west as North Platte.
Also, the competition keeps us on our toes. If I know that I'm going up against Kearney or Grand Island in a bid presentation, then I had better put together the best bid possible. It's also true as far as facilities go. If we want to compete, we had better work hard to make sure that our facilities are the best they can be.
Attractions are the one area that I think we are always supportive of each other in. We all want Nebraska's attractions to be superb at all times, no matter where they are. The Great Platte River Road Archway in Kearney is a world class attraction, and we are all hoping for it's visitation numbers to rise. Same with the Golden Spike Tower and Visitor Center in North Platte. Lake McConaughy in Ogallala, the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Toadstool National Park, Chimney Rock... The list is endless, but high attendance at one attraction doesn't take away from attendance at another attraction. In fact, higher visitation at one will almost ensure higher visitation at others.
So, we might compete, and we may get on each other's nerves at times, but Nebraska's tourism industry professionals are all working toward the same goal - to increase the level of economic activity within the state at our visitor facilities.
A further note on camaraderie. The Nebraska Travel Association hosts a booth at the Northwest Sport Show in Minneapolis, which is usually staffed by representatives from the eastern part of Nebraska, Norfolk, South Sioux City and York. My colleagues know that I am a fan of the Discovery Channel's series "Deadliest Catch." When I told Bob from York that Captains Johnathan and Andy Hillstrand from the boat "Time Bandit" would be appearing at the show, he volunteered to stand in line and get me an autographed copy of their book.
Here he is holding the book that he stood in line to get for me! Now that's a true friend. Thanks Bob!
Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on, just don't disturb me while I'm reading my new book!