This track will ensure that outdoor recreation destinations continue to drive their local economies, by activating people to recreate responsibly and care for our lands and waters; channeling visitors to underutilized locations; improving infrastructure and accessibility; and increasing visitor spending. Growing outdoor tourism responsibly requires inclusive planning and collaboration that engages both public and private sectors to identify critical issues and advance a holistic agenda improving residents’ quality of life, protecting natural and cultural heritage, and enhancing the visitor experience and connection with the community.
Sustainable Outdoor Recreation Tourism Models and Case Studies – Sustainable tourism, at its core, includes social responsibility, environmental conservation, and economic viability. This session will demystify the often misunderstood concept of sustainable tourism, illustrate community connections, and introduce the concept of destination stewardship and how it fosters sustainable tourism. We’ll look at global trends, challenges, and solutions. After which, the case study community will share an in-depth look at their community projects.
Visitor Use Management Data, Tools, and Techniques
Making the Outdoors a Welcome, Safe Space for all Folks – Tourism is an international industry built on welcoming visitors, and success is measured in terms of satisfaction. “All are welcome” is a part of tourism’s DNA. In addition to social responsibility, environmental conservation, and economic viability, sustainable tourism standards specifically call out diversity, equity, and inclusion, as it relates to workforce hiring and advancement since international standards were adopted in 2008.
Bobby Chappell, Tourism Impact Services
Clark Lovelace, Executive Director at Transylvania Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Development Authority
Dr. Melissa Weddell, Chair, Appalachian State Department of Recreation Management
Dr. Ryan Sharp, Associate Professor, Applied Park Science Lab, Kansas State University
Nick Breedlove, Executive Director, Jackson County Tourist Development Association
Andrew Leary, Leave No Trace
Faith Overall, Leave No Trace
Earl B. Hunter Jr., CEO, Black Folks Camp Too
Michelle Mitchell, USFS Southeast Director for Wilderness
Dr. Aby Sene-Harper, Assistant Professor, Parks and Conservation Area Management, Clemson University
The past year has been life changing, not just for us as individuals, but for our communities, economies, and the outdoor industry as a whole. The need to grow and strengthen our respective outdoor economies is more relevant than ever.
Since its inception, Outdoor Economy Conference has provided an invaluable opportunity to connect with, learn from, and be inspired by the leaders and doers who are working to grow the outdoor industry and craft an economy that’s intimately tied to the well-being of their places and communities.
This year’s conference is no exception. Our team is passionate about their work and has been busy crafting an amazing program centered around place driven community and economic development.
Did we mention that the conference is in the legendary outdoor playground that is Western North Carolina? You’ll be just 5 minutes from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, 5 minutes from some of the country’s most epic mountain biking, and within walking distance of fantastic fly fishing.
Maybe you’re more of a luxe digs sort of person – well, we’ve got that too. The Outdoor Economy Conference will be one of the first events at the swanky, newly-constructed, Harrah’s Cherokee Event Center. And the room rates are crazy good. Oh, and it’s also during those magical first few weeks of spring, when the trillium and the trout are rising. So what are you waiting for? Register now!
777 Casino Dr. Cherokee, NC 28719