Today marks the end of National Travel and Tourism Week, a time to celebrate the impact travel and tourism has on our great state and the whole country. One event this summer will have an incredible impact on tourism in the Cornhusker state. The Total Solar Eclipse on August 21 has been touted as “the largest tourism event in human history”. Bigger than the Olympics, the Super Bowl, World Cup, you name it.

The path of totality ranges from the Oregon Coast down to South Carolina. The path of totality cuts through the heart of the United States, providing unprecedented access to this rare gift from the cosmos. More than half of our country’s population is within a one-day’s drive from the path of totality. The easy access to totality is what makes this event such a big deal.

In Nebraska, it spans from Falls City to Alliance, basically cutting through the middle of the state. The Sandhills have been named the fourth-best place to view the Eclipse in the country. Think about it, there’s no sky scrapers, not many city lights, nothing to get in the way. Nebraska’s known for our wide open sky, and this Eclipse will be a great opportunity to lay out the welcome mat to visitors from all over the world, including Russia and Australia to name a few.

What’s great about the tourism industry in Nebraska is that people are willing to work together toward a common goal. Ten communities have banded together to form the Nebraska Eclipse Coalition. Their mission is to promote Nebraska as the top destination for this summer’s eclipse. The group includes Scottsbluff, Gering, Alliance, North Platte, Kearney, Hastings, Grand Island, Lincoln, Omaha and Beatrice, along with the Western Nebraska Tourism Coalition.

Through a partnership with the Nebraska Eclipse Coalition and the Nebraska Tourism Commission, there has been an advertising campaign aimed at Eclipse enthusiasts and families to make Nebraska their viewing destination. If you have a minute, check out the website and start planning your Eclipse Trip.

Between earned and paid media, the campaign has led to hotels in these communities to be nearly sold out. Since the Eclipse takes place on a Monday, many communities are hosting weekend-long celebrations and events to keep visitors in town.

On May 12, there’s no way to know exactly how many visitors will flock to Nebraska for the Eclipse, or the exact impact that will take place. But that’s alright, as soon as we can gather that information later this year, we’ll be posting it here. In the meantime, start thinking about where you want to be on August 21.

Thanks for reading. Do something fun in Nebraska this weekend.