Norfolk Passport 2019

Some new initiatives from the Norfolk Area Visitors Bureau have been well received so far, and have been drawing new visitors to the area.

That was the outlook from Traci Jeffrey, the director of the bureau, at the monthly advisory committee meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Jeffrey said that the geotour launched in April has brought more than 50 new visitors to Norfolk, including many from Omaha, Sioux Falls and even one from as far as Norway.

The geotour is a search for 40 geocaches hidden around the region. Geocaches are hidden containers usually containing small prizes and items for those who find them.

The goal of the geotour is to collect 40 points; each found cache is worth 1 point but more points can be obtained by visiting local businesses along the way. Participants who earn 40 points get a special token.

Jeffrey said the geotour has proven popular with geocachers from different generations, with many visitors being retirees who hunt for geocaches across the country.

She said many visitors left reviews saying they were impressed with what Norfolk and Northeast Nebraska had to offer.

Jeffrey also said the inaugural Norfolk Sculpture Walk has been popular, with many people voting in the online contest.

A guided tour of the sculptures is also being arranged. Those who sign up for the tour will not only be able to see all of the artwork, but also stop at several Norfolk businesses for food and drinks. There are six tours planned starting June 22 through August.

The recent tourism success is also shown through the amount of lodging tax received so far this year.

The only data current available is for the first three months of 2019, but the lodging tax remitted in those months was significantly higher than in previous years. A total of about $105,000 has been reported so far, compared to about $78,000 last year through the same time frame.

It was also announced at the meeting that Norfolk High School’s Johnny Carson Theatre will once again host the high school state play production championships this coming school year. The Norfolk Sports Council is also working to submit a bid for high school state golf championships again as well.

In other news

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shot down a U.S. surveillance drone on Thursday amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington over the collapsing nuclear deal with world powers, American and Iranian officials said, though they disputed the circumstances of the incident.