November 22, 2017 by

Omaha’s tourism industry has come a long way since the Windsor Hotel, a three-story brick building constructed in 1885 in the Old Market, welcomed railroad workers coming into the city’s train station. The Windsor was designed to be a “working man’s hotel,” and back then Omaha businesses, restaurants, and hotels were all led by men. Oh, how times have changed.

Today, women touch every aspect of the business world, including Omaha’s tourism industry. Major tourist attractions such as The Durham Museum, Omaha Children’s Museum, and El Museo Latino are all led by women. These women, along with their staffs, offer creative insight into the world of art and history. The organizations they lead offer relevant, imaginative, and often touchable exhibits that are enjoyed by some of the 12.3 million people who visit Omaha every year.

And it’s the direction and artistic vision of women who provide Omaha with some of the best onstage performances in the country. Women who lead the Omaha Community Playhouse, Blue Barn Theater, and Omaha Performing Arts inspire the cast and crew to create magical theatricals that transports guests to another time and place.

Today, unlike the Windsor Hotel built more than 130 years ago, there are four female general managers running some of the city’s largest hotel properties. Every day, their teams welcome guests to the city and are often the first impression visitors have of Omaha. Local businesses play a big part in the success of Omaha’s tourism industry, too; restaurants where visitors eat, and boutiques where they shop, are many times now owned by women.

Omaha’s attractions, performances, restaurants, and hotels attract visitors to our city—and keep them coming back. It has experienced seven straight years of tourism growth, thanks to all of the women who are helping to shape and lead the industry here in Omaha.

Keith Backsen is executive director of the Omaha Convention & Visitors Bureau.

This article appeared in the Winter 2018 issue of B2B.