Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College Sponsoring Tourism Summit to Strengthen Tourism, Business in Potomac Highlands Region

With a focus on sustainably building tourism-centered industries, the Potomac Highlands Regional Tourism Initiative with sponsoring partner Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College (Eastern) will hold its second annual Tourism Summit on August 21 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the National Youth Science Center, 94 Riverstone Drive in Davis.

Through partnerships with the local community, the Potomac Highlands Regional Tourism Initiative hopes to organically grow local industries, including outdoor recreation, arts and culture, food and beverage, history and heritage and agritourism.

The interactive Tourism Summit will begin with representatives from the West Virginia Tourism Office facilitating an open discussion on the state of the tourism industry in the Potomac Highlands Region, and follows with presentations by the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area, Civil War Trails, Mountain Arts District, Mountain Music Trail, West Virginia Extension Service Monogahela National Forest Getaways and Potomac Highlands Regional Outdoor Adventure Recreation (ROAR). Each presentation will conclude with a table discussion where participants will share ideas on developing a creative economy that drives entrepreneurship and job creation by capitalizing on the region’s cultural, natural and human assets.

By highlighting the strengths already existing within the region, the Tourism Summit hopes to improve tourism within the region but develop and create new opportunities for local businesses.

“The locals know their landscape, history and products better than anyone, so we’re working with them to package their business and knowledge in a manner that invites investment to the region from outside,” said Ethan Serr, an Americorps volunteer working as the Tourism Coordinator for the Potomac Highlands Regional Tourism Initiative through EWVCTC. “The key point is that we’re not changing the economy to match what outsiders would want, we’re strengthening what’s already here and promoting it so that others want to share in it.”

The effects of last year’s Tourism Summit are already being seen. As a result of the event, EWVCTC began offering a tourism-focused social media course and will participate in a restaurant apprenticeship program.
The 2018 Tourism Summit is free and open to anyone interested in or impacted by tourism. Lunch will be provided, but an RSVP is required. RSVP to ethan.serr@easternwv.edu by August 14.