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Partnership header Making music at the Ashville festival, Blue Ridge Parkway
Western Nebraska Tourism Coalition

Description: The Coalition is a committee of the Panhandle Area Development District (PADD) that was organized in1994 to promote tourism in western Nebraska. It is based on participation of 13 county visitors committees, plus individual memberships. Nebraska levies a bed tax on all hotels, motels, and bread and breakfast facilities, and a percent of that is returned to each county. The County Commissioners determine how those returned taxes are spent, based on the advice of a county visitors committee. Each county has been levied a percentage (approximately 1%) of the returned taxes as a membership fee for the Coalition. In addition, organizations or individuals may join for: $25/year; $50 if they want a link from their website to the Coalition website; $100 if they want a page on the Coalition website. The group meets bi-monthly across the 13 county area.

Geographic area covered: The Nebraska Panhandle plus Keith and Cherry counties to the southeast and northeast respectively.

List of partners and relationships: Federal partners included NPS, USFS, USFWS, HUD indirectly through PADD support. State partners included Nebraska Dept. of Roads, Nebraska Dept. of Game and Parks, Nebraska Division of Travel and Tourism, Nebraska Department of Economic Development. Local partnerships include 13 county visitors committees, some chambers of commerce. In addition, approximately 40 private attractions and stores are involved.

Accomplishments to date: A regional tourism-oriented map (3rd edition in press). A very successful website (www.westnebraska.com). A professional regional tourism magazine. The Journey (3rd edition in process). Tourism brochures. A quarterly newsletter (Agate was featured in the last issue). Invaluable networking among the participants.

Key success factors:

  1. Clearly demonstrated benefit to all the partners with the maps, magazine, and shared information.
  2. A 501(c)(3) sponsor with a bank account and audit protocols.
  3. Committed leadership and membership.
  4. Bylaws that define the voting rules.
  5. Success itself. A healthy bank account

Frustrations: The long distances to meetings, often 200 mi. one way for a 2 hour meeting. Local cultural differences between residents in the U.S. 26/North Platte Valley corridor and residents in the U.S. 20/Pine Ridge corridor (each is a different scenic byway).

Most important lessons learned to date:

  1. People have to make the commitment to drive those miles, listen to varying opinions and come to a consensus, and do the work needed for the map, magazine, etc.
  2. Have an agreed-upon set of rules and by-laws.

What would you do differently next time: Change the voting rules. They were based on the original visitor committee orientation. At the time the voting rules were conceived, the committee didn't think other organizations and individuals would be interested in participating in the Coalition.

Suggested resource materials: Coalition website, magazine, map, and newsletter.

For more information:

Name: Ruthann Knudson, Ph.D.
Affiliation: Superintendent, Agate Fossil Beds National Monument
Phone/Fax: Ph. 308-668-2211 FAX 308-668-2318
Email/website: ruthann_knudson@nps.gov

Partnership category(ies) (check all that apply)

Fundraising __; Capital Improvements __; Facility Management __; Trails __; Design __; Program Delivery __; Visitor Services __; Tenant Organizations __; Concessioners __; Natural Resources Management/Restoration __; Cultural Resources __; Education/Interpretation __; Arts __; Information Services __; Transportation __; Mutual Aid __; Fire Management __; Planning __; Tourism _X_; Community Relations _X_;

Other ____________________________

Prepared by: Ruthann Knudson Date posted: 8/5/03
Phone: 308-668-2211

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