The Great American Eclipse on Aug. 21 was a big day for the Nebraska economy, bringing hundreds of thousands of visitors and millions of tourism dollars into the state.
Nebraska's greatest single tourist event on record brought more than 615,000 out-of-state visitors to locations across Nebraska to get a view of totality, according to an economic-impact study released Monday.
The travels of more than 708,000 people — about 87 percent of them from out-of-state — translated to about $127 million spent in Nebraska on lodging and other travel expenses, according to the study conducted by Dean Runyan Associates & Destination Analysts Inc.
“This data confirms the magnitude of the solar eclipse’s impact and we couldn’t be more pleased,” said John Ricks, Nebraska Tourism executive director, in a press release from the Nebraska Tourism Commission. “The amazing one-time event was big business for our industry and beyond. We hope travelers were inspired to share stories about their Nebraska experience and to visit again.”
The totals were announced during the state's tourism conference. Other eclipse impact facts shared at the conference included:
- On average, visitors spent three days in the state.
- A total of 92.7 percent of out-of-state visitors said the eclipse was the reason for their visit to Nebraska. 60.6 percent of out-of-state visitors said they would not have made this trip to Nebraska had it not been for the Solar Eclipse.
- Prior to this trip, 70.9 percent of out-of-state visitors had not visited Nebraska in the past three years on a purely leisure trip (not to visit friends or relatives). However, when asked, nearly 40 percent said they are likely to visit Nebraska in the next 2 years; 45 percent said they are likely to return in the next 2-5 years.
- Media coverage of the event also provided free publicity with an estimated value of more than $133 million.
During the conference, Lt. Gov. Mike Foley will also recognize 10 Nebraska cities involved in the Nebraska Eclipse Coalition: Alliance, Beatrice, Gering, Hastings, Grand Island, Kearney, Lincoln, North Platte, Omaha and Scottsbluff.