More than 300 members of Iowa's tourism industry gathered in Sioux City recently for the 2008 Iowa Tourism Conference. Sponsored by the Travel Federation of Iowa and the Iowa Tourism Office, the three-day conference brought together tourism enthusiasts from every part of the state to network, attend educational sessions and discuss emerging industry trends. Catherine Bergman, from Hamilton County SEED, and Carrie Fitzgerald, from Webster City Area Development, was among those in attendance at this year's event.
Iowa Tourism Office Manager Nancy Landess said: "The tourism conference creates an important opportunity for Iowa's tourism professionals to network with each other and learn from speakers at various education sessions. It also gives our office the opportunity to thank Iowa's tourism professionals. Because of their efforts, tourism in Iowa continues to grow, pumping billions of dollars into our economy and drawing millions of people into our state every year."
"The tourism conference gave me some new ideas to implement in Hamilton County," said Bergman. "I was brought up to date on tourism trends and given the tools to make my marketing efforts more effective."
Highlights from this year's event included a keynote address by motivational speaker Rob Bell, numerous breakout sessions on such topics as working with the media, state travel trends, consumer travel decision making and internet marketing. Nineteen organizations, businesses and individuals that made outstanding contributions to the Iowa tourism industry in 2008 were also honored during the event.
Plans are already underway for the 2009 Iowa Tourism Conference, scheduled for next October in Tama.
Tourism is a $6.3 billion industry in Iowa, employing more than 62,000 people statewide. For more information about Iowa attractions and events, go to www.traveliowa.com , call 800.345.IOWA.