LINCOLN — The state reaped a record harvest of taxes on motel and hotel stays in the past fiscal year, and tourism officials credit an edgy new tourism slogan for part of the increase.

The state collected $5.9 million in state lodging taxes from July 2018 through June 30, 2019, which was 4% more than in the previous fiscal year. In June alone, more than $88 million was spent in the state on lodging.

John Ricks, executive director of the Nebraska Tourism Commission, said a new marketing push for out-of-state visitors, targeting cities such as Kansas City, Topeka and Sioux Falls, helped push receipts to a record.

“Out-of-state visitors tend to not only stay longer and spend more, but they bring new dollars into the economy,” Ricks said.

He said the state’s award-winning tourism motto — “Nebraska. Honestly, it’s not for everyone” — also helped raise awareness of traveling to the state.

The Tourism Commission is funded by a 1% tax on lodging bills. Counties also levy a lodging tax that funds local travel promotion and improvement projects at tourism sites.

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Reporter - Regional/state issues

Paul covers state government and affiliated issues. He specializes in tax and transportation issues, following the governor and the state prison system. Follow him on Twitter @PaulHammelOWH. Phone: 402-473-9584.

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