Tour Operators travel to North Platte to experience what the city has to offer for tourism

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP)- North Platte was the last stop for a group of motor coach tour operators on a 'Western Nebraska Familiarization Tour' also known as FAM.

Tour operators from all over the county experience North Platte tourism and check out the grounds of the Lincoln County Historical Museum Friday as part of a city tour. (Source: Holly Barraclough, KNOP TV)

The North Platte Lincoln County Visitors Bureau partnered with the Nebraska Tourism Commission and other Western Nebraska destinations to host the tour operators.

On Friday, twelve people, who run tours all over the country, came to visit Lincoln County and experience what North Platte has to offer.

"[Before this,] I knew nothing about Nebraska and I wanted to know why I should come to Nebraska," said Barbara Siegel, who runs tours based out of Asbury Park, New Jersey.

The tour operators started with breakfast at the Golden Spike Tower, then traveled to the Buffalo Bill State Historical Park, where, after a tour of the mansion, they boarded a Dusty Trails horse-drawn wagon for a trip to the Lincoln County Historical Museum where they had a dutch oven lunch provided by Rick Wyndam. They ended Fridays festivities at the Fort Cody Trading Post.

Belinda Grace-Leonard runs tours based out of Raymond, New Hampshire and said a highlight of her visit was seeing Bailey Yard.

"Well I think that Golden Spike Tower is definitely a highlight," said Grace-Leonard, "I think it's something that everybody should experience, it's part of Americana and it's very exciting for people to come here and be a part of something that's the Worlds Largest."

The Visitors Bureau says many tour groups love North Platte because there are so many "one of a kinds" that are a main draw for tourists.

Grace-Leonard said she has brought her tour groups to town before. "Honestly the sole reason we came here was to go to the Bailey Yard and the Golden Spike Tower, being the world's largest trainyard, it's very enticing and very exciting for people to come and experience something like that."

The tour companies represented were: Brilliant Edventures from Georgia, Funtastic Getaways from Massachusetts, Gary Express Inc from California, Heritage Tours from Kansas, New England Coach from New Hampshire, Significant Living Travel & Tours from California, Silver Wheels Travel Tours from New Jersey and Tripod Vacations from California.

The Visitors Bureau said FAM tours provide an opportunity for operators to personally experience a destination in order to more adequately sell it to their customers.

"The objective of this FAM is to provide tour operators with first-hand experience of the many sights and attractions in the North Platte Area that would be of interest to their customers," said Lisa Burke, Executive Director of the North Platte / Lincoln County Visitors Bureau. "These motorcoach operators had multiple tours to choose from, and they chose to visit western Nebraska because they know what we have will resonate with their customers."