It may be a different type of celebration during National Travel and Tourism Week starting next Monday, but local tourism officials say highlighting one of the area’s economic drivers may be more important than ever.
Karla Niedan-Streeks with the Gering Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and Scotts Bluff County Tourism Director Brenda Leisy discussed the celebration taking place next week during a video conference Thursday, saying somethings will be familiar, such as the Monday proclamation signing and Wednesday’s ‘Wear Red for Tourism’ day, but by the nature of social distancing, they will be virtual due to the pandemic.
With the potential cancellation of area events this summer due to public health directives, Leisy says on Tuesday the celebration will concentrate and highlight area attractions and how they’re being creative during an uncertain time. “A perfect example is Billy (Estes) at Midwest Theater with his movie pop-up,” says Leisy. “That has been just absolutely phenomenal and such a wonderful collaboration with Legacy of the Plains to get some activities for people to do while we’re social distancing.”
Thursday, the area’s hotel industry, thrown into turmoil after what was reported to be an outstanding February this year, will be highlighted with a special virtual luncheon, featuring delivered gourmet box lunches and keynote address by tourism director John Ricks.
Niedan-Streeks says there will also be some special messaging during the course of the week, courtesy of area businesses. “No matter where you go in the community, if you’re driving or walking, whatever you’re doing, you’re going to see throughout our communities businesses who have posted the ‘Spirit of Travel’ on their marquees,” says Niedan-Streeks, “and we thank them for their partnership in helping demonstrate throughout all our communities how important tourism is.”
The week will be capped Friday with a virtual office party online involving tourism partners and supporters from throughout the region.