In fiscal year 2018-2019, the state collected nearly $ 6 million in taxes on lodging, more than ever. It won its best month, June 2019, with nearly $ 900,000 in hosting tax revenue. Overall, he estimates that visitors to Nebraska spent more than $ 3.5 billion.
But let’s go back to last year, when the onset of an unprecedented pandemic put most of the country under house arrest, at least initially.
“Well the bottom just fell,” Ricks said.
Compare the numbers, he said: In fiscal year 2019-20, taxes on lodging have fallen by almost a third, to $ 4.3 million. In June 2020, the state raised only $ 338,000, or nearly $ 550,000 compared to the previous June.
The biggest figure, total visitor spending, has fallen by nearly $ 1.5 billion – money unspent in Nebraska on food, drink, museums, recreation, sporting events, shopping, arts and activities.
“When we said the effects were immediate and devastating, yes the effects were immediate and devastating,” Ricks said.
And if people from other states weren’t going to Nebraska, Nebraska weren’t going to other states.
At Lincoln’s Executive Travel, owner Steve Glenn was busy canceling trips he’d booked for his clients – and sending them refunds.