Jha presents for National Tourism Week

Jha presents for National Tourism Week

01 May 2015    

In honor of National Tourism Week, May 2-10, 2015, the Grand Island Convention and Visitors Bureau sponsored a presentation by Dipra Jha, assistant professor of practice in the Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences. Jha teaches hospitality, restaurant, and tourism management and speaks frequently at conferences and conducts training programs for a variety of organizations. Jha's speech was covered in an article by the Grand Island Independent newspaper

Guests and visitors want more than just to look at the places they visit, says Jha, they want to experience them. His presentation was designed to help local hotels, restaurants, retail stores, event facilities, attractions and local leaders understand how to create experiences that engage their customers and create memories that last a lifetime. In turn, Jha says, customers often become passionate advocates for these businesses and the community as a whole.

Jha’s presentation appealed to a wide audience, offering fresh ideas for enhancing guest experiences. “Grand Island is a great destination with unique tourism assets and learning about the experience economy model will help the community and businesses in delivering a consistently high-quality experience for visitors,” he said.

Centrally located within the state and the country, Grand Island (pop. 50,000) prides itself on its agricultural and natural heritage. Located in the Central Flyway, one of the greatest North American migrations creates a wildlife spectacle every spring when the Sandhill Cranes roost on the Platte River in numbers greater than 500,000. Stuhr Museum, an award-winning living history museum, offers year round programming and is set to unveil a multi-million dollar restoration of their main building designed by architect Edward Durell Stone. Fonner Park offers live horse racing, the new Raising Nebraska agricultural exhibit open year round, and annually hosts the Nebraska State Fair.

The community has seen significant growth in recent years. Downtown Grand Island is witnessing a revival and numerous national chains have opened retail and restaurant locations along Highway 281. A brand new terminal is under construction at the Central Nebraska Regional Airport which offers twice daily flights to Dallas/Fort Worth and weekly flights to Las Vegas and Phoenix. Passengers using the airport have increased from less than 8,000 in 2008 to 56,000 in 2013. Almost 1,800 hotel rooms are spread across 21 hotels in this eastern gateway to the Nebraska Sandhills, with at least one more planned to break ground in the next year.  

During National Tourism Week the Grand Island Convention and Visitors Bureau also scheduled talks at area clubs and distributed the new copy of the “Grand Island Vibe” in partnership with the “Grand Island Independent.” The national theme this year is “Travel is _________.” where the intention is that tourists fill in the blank with their ideas of what travel is. These ideas can be posted to social media with the hashtag #NTTW2015.

Tourism is Nebraska’s third largest earner of revenue from outside the state after agriculture and manufacturing; bringing in excess of $4 billion annually and supporting 45,600 jobs. Hospitality, Restaurant and Tourism Management is one of the fastest growing majors at UNL and resides jointly in the College of Education and Human Sciences and the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

Nutrition and Health Sciences
Hospitality, Restaurant and Tourism Management