LINCOLN — The state reaped a record harvest of taxes on motel and hotel stays in the past fiscal year, and tourism officials credit a new, edgy 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 that a new marketing push for out-of-state visitors, targeting cities like 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 tourism site improvement projects.   

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