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Tens of thousands show interest in 2017 Nebraska Passport program in the first month

(Photo Courtesy: Nebraska Tourism Commission)

May proved to be an amazing month for the 2017 Nebraska Passport program, the Nebraska Tourism Commission said Thursday.

The Passport is the Nebraska Tourism Commission’s annual campaign encouraging travelers to explore the state while collecting stamps and earning prizes.

In 2016, more than 26,000 travelers participated.

This year’s Passport is similar to recent years and features 80 attractions all across the state.

Participation numbers for 2017 are expected to exceed 2016’s numbers.

In just the first month, 24,000 Passport booklets were distributed with thousands more already going out the door in early June.

Since the beginning of the year, more than 12,346 people have personally contacted the Commission requesting the 2017 Passport booklets.

Those requests have come from 40 different states and 352 Nebraska communities.

Travelers can also participate in the program using a digital app, to date, the Passport app has been downloaded over 11,000 times.

Passport digital app statistics show that over 10,000 (digital) stamps were given out in May alone. Many of the most popular stops are in the states metro area and capital city.

Top five Passport destinations on Passport app in May:

  1. Lauritzen Gardens
  2. Nebraska State Capital
  3. UNL Dairy Store
  4. Runza Restaurant
  5. Bakers Candies Inc

In just over a month, three travelers have already hit all 80 stops and submitted their Passports.

On June 3, one ambitious traveler said, “Oh my goodness, I finished my 80th stop this afternoon at Niobrara State Park… Every stop was a joy and an adventure.”

“Passport travelers are passionate and once they share stories about their time traveling the state, many of their friends and family want to join in. It’s amazing how much this program has grown,” said Nebraska Tourism executive director, John Ricks. “We’re excited to see the numbers for this year and to watch them keep increasing over the next few months. We’re hearing more and more about how this program has an impact on the 80 destinations and the Nebraska tourism industry as a whole and that’s great.”

Passport booklets are available at participating stops and the app can be download for free in the Apple App Store and Google Play-- simply search for “NE Passport.”

The program runs through September 30. To learn more about this year’s prizes and read travelers’ stories go to NebraskaPassport.com.

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