Tahoe Chamber Corner: Taking tourism to the next level (opinion)
There are many ways the Lake Tahoe South Shore Chamber of Commerce works to build a stronger mountain community. We do so through our initiatives, events, and efforts throughout the year to serve as a thoughtful, active and influential voice for the needs and contributions of the South Shore business community.
We vigorously support diversification, but recognize that tourism remains the foundation of our economy. Thanks to our colleagues at the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority (Tahoe South), South Shore tourism was in the national and international spotlight at the 2018 Mountain Travel Symposium (MTS) held here April 8-14. More than 1,000 tourism professionals attended, with venues at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel, and Heavenly Mountain Resort.
Destination tourism is constantly evolving. It’s important that we all stay informed on trends, travel patterns and the desires of our guests. On Thursday, May 10, Tahoe Chamber will partner with Tahoe South, Reno-Tahoe International Airport, Sacramento International Airport, and the South Tahoe Alliance of Resorts to present our 2018 local tourism forum: Taking Tourism to the Next Level.
This year’s forum will feature two keynote speakers, as well as interactive breakout sessions on the hospitality, retail and culinary industries. Erik Wolf, the visionary founder and executive director of the World Food Travel Association, will be the morning keynote, highlighting trends in the food tourism industry.
The association is recognized as the world’s leading authority on food and drink tourism, with a community of more than 35,000 professionals in 135 countries. Wolf’s highly rated book, “Have Fork will Travel,” is considered “a practical handbook for food and drink tourism professionals.”
Association research shows that 93 percent of travelers create long-lasting and powerful memories based on their experiences with an area’s food and beverage. According to Wolf and his team: “The distinctive local food and beverage products, culinary history and hospitality are the foundation of an area’s character, and that’s what attracts visitors and turns locals into passionate ambassadors for their areas.”
Following the morning keynote and breakout sessions, we will hear from Christina Erny, senior manager of digital marketing and engagement for the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority. Erny earned her CDME, Certified Destination Marketing Executive, credential from Destinations International, a tourism organization which also recognizes her as one of their 30 under 30 “Future Leaders in Destination Marketing.” She will discuss the essential elements of successful destination marketing, including digital marketing and advertising, website management, and influencer marketing strategies.
For more information and tickets to Taking Tourism to the Next Level, visit our newly redesigned website at tahoechamber.org. We look forward to seeing you May 10, from 8 a.m. to noon at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
Steve Teshara is the CEO of the Lake Tahoe South Shore Chamber of Commerce.