Dipra Jha, UNL assistant professor of Hospitality, Restaurant and Tourism Management, is helping Nebraska City in its efforts to increase tourism.
Nebraska City, the birthplace of Arbor Day, is home to several historic landmarks including the Arbor Lodge State Park. It also hosts the popular Apple Jack Festival every September, which attracts out-of-state visitors.
Jha was contacted by Nebraska City Tourism and Commerce, Inc. requesting his expertise in lodging development and tourism-related events. Jha agreed to advise the community on innovative projects, including a 48-hour film festival about food and sustainability to showcase Nebraska City’s historic downtown.
Tim Pendrell, executive director for Nebraska City tourism department, said he was excited about Jha’s involvement in his city’s tourism efforts. Pendrell attended Jha’s presentation at the Nebraska Travel Conference in Norfolk last year.
For Jha, the involvement with Nebraska City is an opportunity to put scholarly knowledge into practice while supporting community economic development within Nebraska.
Using his lodging industry experience, Jha has advised Nebraska City on new project development and the conversion of historic buildings into boutique hotels. He expects the Hospitality, Restaurant and Tourism Management program at UNL to benefit from the relationship by generating internships and entrepreneurial opportunities for students. He also said he hopes to create pathways for faculty to engage in research and community outreach.
Tourism is Nebraska’s third largest revenue field 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 in the Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences in the College of Education and Human Sciences.