Keeping up with the tourists |

Keeping up with the tourists

Becky Bosshart

CARSON CITY – Those who depend on tourism to bolster their bottom line need to keep up with trends and marketing methods, according to the state commission on tourism.

About 250 business owners and tourism officials will convene April 5-7 in Carson City to glean wisdom and share strategies on attracting the mighty tourism dollar.

“Rural Roundup is the tourism event that focuses specifically on the interests, needs and concerns of rural Nevada,” state tourism commission director Bruce Bommarito said.

The Nevada Commission on Tourism’s 16th annual Rural Roundup conference will feature workshops, a keynote address by a national tourism expert and tours of Carson City sites. The tours will bring delegates through the state government buildings and historical homes known for ghost sightings.

Roger Brooks, a partner at Destination Development, Inc., in Olympia, Wash., will deliver the keynote address on creating a successful brand. He has conducted community tourism assessments in rural Nevada that produced easy-to-implement ways to make communities more appealing, according to the commission.

Ronni Hannaman, a board member with the city convention and visitors’ bureau, is attending the conference because of the seminar on name branding.

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“Carson City is looking at how to brand itself for the future to attract nationwide visitors,” she said. “We’re determining that history is our hook, but is that really the reason visitors come here? We’re trying to figure out a slogan because Carson City doesn’t really have one right now.”

Las Vegas is famous for its “what happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas” slogan. Could Carson City reach the same level of prominence?

That’s unknown, said Candy Duncan, Carson City Convention & Visitors Bureau executive director. Las Vegas has a million-dollar budget and a lot more tourism clout. The bureau has a lot of work to do before it picks a catchy slogan, she said, such as agreeing on the tourism brand the city wants to adopt.

The conference offers an opportunity for those who work in the rural areas to network with other industry professionals, said tourism commission spokeswoman Chris Chrystal. Programs are molded to benefit those working in rural Nevada.

“We show you what you can do to make your community more attractive to visitors, to get them to stop and spend some money so that they don’t just pass you by,” she said.

Keeping up with tourism trends is also a major focus. Chrystal said one trend emerging statewide is bird watching.

“This is not something associated with Nevada in the past, but it’s starting to emerge in Nevada,” she said. “Eco-tourism is starting to emerge. There’s great bird watching across Northern Nevada and that will be talked about (at the conference).”