Regional tourism professionals will gather in Coeur d’Alene next month to collect and share ideas on how to further strengthen one of North Idaho’s top industries, says Christina Petit, director of sales and marketing at the Best Western Plus Coeur d’Alene Inn.
The annual North Idaho Tourism Summit is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 9 at the Coeur d’Alene Inn, at 506 W. Appleway. Admission to the event is $39 per person.
The North Idaho Tourism Summit initially was conceived in 2008 and funded for three years through a grant from the Idaho Department of Labor, Petit says. Since then, the summit has continued with the support of participating businesses and agencies.
“The North Idaho Tourism Summit was born with a mission to foster strategic partnerships,” says Petit, who anticipates the event will attract 150 tourism professionals, including representatives from Spokane and Boise.
“This year’s summit will focus on how we can package ourselves together to keep guests here and make them stay longer than a day or two and do more of what we have,” she says.
The keynote speaker will be Kevin Kastner, executive director of the Iron Dog Races, a 2,000-mile-plus snowmobile race that traverses Alaska. Kastner’s theme will be how teams are better than partners.
Petit says Kastner will draw from his experience in helping Alaskan communities join as a team to make the world’s longest snowmobile race an economic success.
The summit will start with Diane Norton, tourism manager for the Idaho Department of Commerce, delivering a presentation on the state of tourism in Idaho. “She will make us aware of any state programs we can tap into,” Petit says.
Five or six restaurants will prepare food samples for summit participants.
“It gives opportunities for those of us in the room to know what they have so we can make recommendations to guests,” she says. “Shopping and food are very important when people travel. Being engaged with hotels really enhances business.”
In the afternoon, a panel discussion will focus on suggestions from outlying communities for extending tourism seasons.
The summit will conclude with Diane Gibson, president and founder of Spokane-based DMG Consultancy Ltd., who will talk about motivating a multigenerational workforce.
Petit says people aged 16 to 20-something, who tend to fill nonsupervisory positions, have a different work ethic than middle-aged business owners, while people in their 30s and 40s tend to run marketing and sales functions of business operations.
“She’s great at showing how to bring those generations together to be successful,” Petit says of Gibson.
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