Rural Tourism Development Initiative offers assistance to communities across Louisiana

Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser and the Louisiana Office of Tourism are hosting the Louisiana Rural Tourism Conference May 16-17 at the West Baton Rouge Conference Center in Port Allen. The conference is part of Lt. Governor Nungesser’s Rural Tourism Development Initiative, which offers technical and marketing assistance to rural communities across Louisiana. The two-day conference will cover a variety of topics, selected based on information gathered at a series of statewide meetings conducted by Lt. Governor Nungesser.

 “The Rural Tourism Development Initiative and this conference are important tools to assist our rural communities in attracting visitors to their areas of the state,” said Lt. Governor Nungesser. “We are working hard, not just to increase visitation, but to get those visitors to learn that you can Feed Your Soul all over the state. This conference provides an opportunity to bring our tourism partners together to learn how to market their sites better from nationally-recognized experts.”

 The Rural Tourism Conference combines national expertise with local case studies, providing a unique learning experience to Louisiana tourism partners at a fraction of the cost of national conferences.

Presentations include:

--Compelling Story-Based Experiences: What Visitors Want 
Cheryl Hargrove, President, Hargrove International

--Case Study: Agri-Tourism Development: Farm to Table Experience in Avoyelles Parish 
Wilbert Carmouche, Executive Director, Avoyelles Parish Tourist Commission

--How to Sell the Importance of Tourism to Your Community and Local Officials 
Dr. Steve Morse, Dean of the McCamish School for Business, Reinhardt University

--Making Memorable Experiences: An Introduction to Experience Development 
Lisa Lima, Manager, Travel Alberta, Canada

--How Do You Attract These People and Their Dollars to Your Community 
Ted Eubanks, President, Fermata Inc.

 “This conference will provide our statewide partners with tools and knowledge they can apply to their efforts to attract visitors,” said Doug Bourgeois, assistant secretary of the Louisiana Office of Tourism.

 In addition to this conference, the Rural Tourism Development Initiative provides technical assistance, educational workshops, and hands-on assistance. Through the initiative, statewide products such as trails, byways, and a heritage area provide avenues for Louisiana parishes to link to state projects.

Contributed by La. Office of Tourism