Nebraska Tourism Kicks off 2014 Passport Program

LINCOLN, Neb. (May 1, 2014)—The Nebraska Tourism Commission kicked off its 2014 Nebraska Passport Program today at Lincoln’s Children’s Zoo. The zoo is one of the 80 stops included on the program this year. The 2014 Passport will feature 80 attractions on 10 themed tours, including: Sips and Suds, Patchwork Passion, Rare Finds, Home Grown Nebraska, Fork in the Road, Hit the Snooze, Without Walls, Stars and Stripes, How We Move and Can’t Get Enough.

The Passport program encourages travelers to explore Nebraska, collect stamps from participating attractions and earn great prizes. Travelers have from May 1 through September 30 to visit attractions and redeem their stamps for prizes. For each completed tour, participants win a Nebraska Passport T-shirt. Travelers also can receive 20 $1 Nebraska Lottery Scratch coupons (for 20 stamps) and a digital picture frame (for 40 stamps) and a Pebble Smartwatch (for all 80 stamps).

A grand-prize drawing for a 60” Plasma TV will be held in October. This year, an additional drawing for 300 $1 Nebraska Lottery Scratch tickets will be held for all participants, 19 and older, who turn in passports with at least one stamp.

Passports will be available at participating stops beginning May 1. More information about the program can be found at nebraskapassport.com. Also new this year, participants can download and participate in the program via mobile application that is free and downloadable from the Apple App Store and Google App Store.

State Your Pride Program

Nebraska Tourism is partnering with some of Nebraska’s top businesses to promote Nebraska’s tourism industry, which will offer a wide variety of fun and adventure throughout the state for participating employees. This initiative is called the State Your Pride program. Participating partners include First National Bank, Omaha Steaks, Pinnacle Bank, Bailey Lauerman and Swanson Russell. All five organizations will be promoting the passport program to their employees in their internal communications in some form or another. Some of the organizations will be offering extra incentives and contests to make the experience even more fun and to encourage a healthy work-life balance.

According to WebMD, people who take vacations have lower stress and less risk of heart disease -- not to mention a better outlook on life and more motivation to achieve goals. It doesn’t have to be a long vacation. Just 24 hours away and you’ll reap the benefits. Even better, the biggest boost in happiness comes from planning the vacation. You can feel the effects up to 8 weeks prior to your trip. Simply having something to look forward to can be rewarding.

Nebraska Tourism Commission Director Kathy McKillip commented, “We feel that this will be a great way for Nebraska’s top companies to get involved in the state’s third largest industry and to show the pride they have in the state they call home.” McKillip added, “The companies who have signed up, feel the program is a win-win because it supports a positive industry that provides over 36,000 jobs within the state and it offers them a great vehicle for challenging their employees to get out on their vacation days and weekends to enjoy some quality time with their family and friends.”