Tourism is Nebraska's third-largest earner of revenue from outside the state after agriculture and manufacturing.
At the end of 2006, 68 of Nebraska's 93 counties had lodging taxes to collect revenues for promoting local travel and tourism. Including the highest concentrations of hotels, motels, and campgrounds in Nebraska, these 68 counties have almost 97 percent of the state's total commercial lodging sales. In addition, at least 7 Nebraska cities have occupation taxes on lodging sales, with most using the proceeds for attraction development.
The total budget of the Nebraska Travel and Tourism Division in Fiscal Year 2006-07 was approximately $6.3 million, compared to an average of $15.3 million among all state travel offices. A one-percent lodging tax provides much of the revenue for the Division "to generally promote, encourage, and attract visitors to and within the State of Nebraska and enhance the use of travel and tourism facilities within the state."
Travelers spent almost $3.8 billion in Nebraska during 2009 on trips away from home with overnight stays in paid accommodations and on day trips to places 100 miles or more away. Annual spending in Nebraska on these trips has increased by over $2.1 billion since 1990.
Jobs attributable to travel spending in Nebraska totalled 45,300 in 2009.
Each dollar spent by tourists in Nebraska is respent in the state to produce an additional $1.70 in business and income, creating an overall economic impact of $2.70.
Nebraskans and visitors to Nebraska together made 18.7 million trips in the state in 2009 to destinations 100 miles or more away from home. For trips by visitors, the leading states of origin were, in order, Kansas, Iowa, Colorado, Missouri, South Dakota, Illinois, and Minnesota.
The average nonresident traveling party visiting Nebraska by highway during the summer consists of 2.4 persons who stay 2.2 nights in the state and spend $435. Over a third of the nonresident traveling parties go to attractions or events, and for each attraction or event visited, they average a half-day longer in Nebraska, spending an additional $100.
Over 60 percent of the nonresidents visiting Nebraska during the summer stay at hotels or motels. The state has over 28,000 hotel, motel, and bed and breakfast rooms, which had an average annual occupancy rate of 53 percent in 2009 and offered the nation’s 7th lowest average room costs.