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Advocating for tourism progress

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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) – During the Lincoln County Commissioners ‘meeting, the North Platte / Lincoln County Visitors’ Office Advisory Committee requested separation from a division of the county government. The advisory board aims to become a 501-C6.

“We want to be more unified in the community and fully involve Lincoln County,” said Lisa Burke, executive director of Lincoln County’s Visitors’ Office. “When visitors come to North Platte, they don’t just come to the Golden Spike Tower, Dusty Trails, or Buffalo Bill Ranch. You will buy gasoline, groceries, and will likely do some shopping in our unique downtown stores. We create the excess income that flows into our church. “

The separation would open up opportunities for other funding options. Currently, money is generated from event sales tax from people who stay in hotels. This has an economic impact across North Platte. More than 1,000 jobs are supported by tourism.

“One of my board members announced that we have grown 30% in the past 10 years,” said Burke. “Grand Island and Kearney have grown 60% or 70% in the last 10 years. We are competitive. We still have more work to do. We could be in that 70% of the growth. This year, COVID really showed what is causing a decline in tourism when our visitors are not here. It affects our entire community.

The North Platte / Lincoln County Visitors’ Office Advisory Committee spoke to other tourism companies across the state and discussed matters with the Assistant District Attorney. The Lincoln County Commissioners are currently voting against the move to 501-C6 on legal grounds.

“I hesitate when the lawyer says, ‘I don’t see a clear way of doing this,” said Kent Weems, Lincoln County Commissioner, District No. 2. “I don’t think we as the board of directors are closing the door on this matter I think there might be a way for our senator to pass laws. “

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