Tourism tshirt mug

U.S. Travel Association judges liked Nebraska’s “honest, authentic, approach to positioning.” (One might say that marketing lingo is not for everyone.)

LINCOLN — For lovers of Nebraska’s new tourism motto — “Honestly, it’s not for everyone” — you’re in luck.

It appears likely that T-shirts and coffee mugs featuring the self-deprecating slogan will soon be on sale.

On Thursday, the Nebraska Legislature gave resounding first-round approval to a bill that would allow the Nebraska Tourism Commission to sell promotional items as a way to capitalize on the publicity frenzy caused by the adoption of the unusual motto last year.

Officials said they chose the motto because awareness of tourism in Nebraska was so low. A bill was needed to sell goods because previously the tourism agency could only give away promotional items, not sell them.

State Tourism Director John Ricks said the commission received a lot of requests to buy T-shirts and other gear after the motto made the rounds of national media and talk shows. Purchases of merchandise displaying the logo will only enhance the effort to spread awareness of tourism in Nebraska, he said.

“It’s another way for us to raise awareness and get people out here,” Ricks said. “It’s an endorsement of what we’re up to, and we want as much of that as we can get.”

The bill permitting the sales, Legislative Bill 637, received first-round approval Thursday. Two more rounds of approval and a signature by Gov. Pete Ricketts would be required before the bill becomes law and sales could begin.

Ricks said the agency has some T-shirts and coffee mugs already available but plans to proceed cautiously in ordering new items so that there’s not a large inventory of unsold goods.

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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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