Tourism conference seeks to focus on outdoor recreation |

Tourism conference seeks to focus on outdoor recreation

With a stagnant economy, the competition for the destination visitor has become fierce.

Nevada has created a new state campaign to promote outdoor recreation. But what can rural communities within the state do to distinguish their little havens, when every county in 11 western states promotes outdoor recreation?

That’s why workshop presenter Roger Brooks of Destination Development will show tourism officials from small communities how to seize a piece of the action in April at the Rural Roundup, a conference that focuses on adventure in the outback of the Silver State.

The South Shore has corralled the conference, sponsored by the Nevada Commission on Tourism, this year. It will be held at the Horizon Casino Resort April 9, 10 and 11.

Brooks’ workshop is called “Developing a Theme,” a session designed to get attendees to think outside of conventional wisdom.

“If they’re passing through, that’s great. But we want to make it worth the drive,” he said. “If you want them to visit you, you have to do something that sets you apart.”

Brooks will use examples of some small towns that successfully raised their competitive edge.

Ashland, Ore., is known for staging a world-class Shakespeare festival, while St. Maries, Idaho, has positioned itself as the Corvette capital of the nation.

Brooks proposed that all towns along Interstate 80 may want to pool their promotional dollars to adopt a theme, person or time period.

“From one end of Nevada to another, someone could go through time,” he said.

Virginia City has touched on its Old West theme.

“Most of Nevada is rural and offers visitors a wild, rugged landscape made for adventure and picturesque communities steeped in western history and culture,” said Nevada Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt, the commission’s chairwoman. “Rural roundup provides Nevada’s widespread network of tourism professionals and volunteers an opportunity to discover new ways to promote attractions and to exchange information and ideas.”

About 250 tourism-industry professionals are expected.

Workshops slated for April 10 cover the gamut of topics relative to the tourism industry. Beyond Brooks’ workshop, other include: The Changing Adult Travel Market; Personality Power in the Workplace; Working with Federal Agencies; Justifying Your Tourism Efforts; Have a Great Web Site; Establishing the Economic Impact of Your Event; and Don’t Reinvent the Wheel, Just Redecorate It.

Along with a dinner cruise on the M.S. Dixie II paddle-wheeler, the tourism gathering will kick off the first day with a tour to explore “The Rejuvenation of the South Shore.” This is the theme of the Lake Tahoe Visitor’s Authority new Blue World advertising campaign, an extensive promotional effort launching in March that touts the near-surreal state of visiting Lake Tahoe.

The April tourism conference wraps up on the third day with a tour of the Ponderosa Ranch at Incline Village.

Conference admission, including meals, is $65 before April 1. Thereafter, it costs $80.

Those interested in attending may contact the commission at (800) 237-0774, ext. 2; (77) 687-4322; or at

Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at

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