Kay Lynn Tettleton, Pilcher, Dr. Cynthia F., Van Osdell, Mary Ann | 8/14/2007 7:08:29 PM
News Release Distributed 08/14/07
Work with your neighbors and diversify your tradition-based agricultural economy were some of the words of advice given at the recent Miss-Lou Regional Tourism Summit in Vidalia, La.
The conference, Aug. 7-9, was held to help community leaders in eastern Louisiana and southwestern Mississippi develop “agritourism” opportunities, said Dr. Kay Lynn Tettleton, LSU AgCenter community development agent and one of the conference planners.
The 85 people who attended formed the Miss-Lou Rural Tourism Association at the event’s end to give structure to future planning, said Dr. Cynthia Pilcher, also an LSU AgCenter community development agent.
“The purpose of the association will be to plan and implement educational programs targeted to agencies and organizations focusing on tourism-related issues and owners and potential owners of tourism-related operations in the region,” Pilcher said. “The LSU AgCenter will continue to partner, support and advise the organization.”
One of the Louisianans serving as an officer is Glen McGlothin of Vidalia, president-elect. Regional directors from Louisiana will be Kathy Nunnery and Guylyn Boles, both of Concordia Parish; Kathy Mayor, Washington Parish; and Wilbert Carmouche, Avoyelles Parish.
Lynette Tanner of Concordia Parish and Tina Johnson of Madison Parish are the at-large Louisiana directors. Tanner is the owner of Frogmore Plantation in Concordia Parish, which the group toured during the conference.
Adam Rohnke with the Mississippi State University Extension Service was one of the speakers and discussed how to start a natural resources enterprise.
“We are not living off the land anymore. People want to see how it used to be. If somebody would create a cemetery of old agricultural machinery, people would pay money to see that,” he said.
Sharon Calcote of the Louisiana Office of Tourism said her office is working on Civil War, African-American and culinary trails and that rural attractions can feed into these projects.
“We believe strongly in tourism,” said Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland. “It is the backbone of our area. It brings monies to our community.”
He said the only thing that separates Vidalia from Natchez is the Mississippi River. “And it’s getting narrower and narrower.”
Alex Thomas of the Mississippi Development Authority Tourism Division said he just returned from Norway where he learned that European travelers are interested in visiting this area of the United States.
Keynote speaker Remelle Farrar, director of the Texas Prairie Rivers Association, discussed initiatives from agritourism that bring 60,000 visitors a year to Canadian, Texas, a town in the panhandle with a population of only 3,200.
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Writer: Mary Ann Van Osdell, (318) 741-7430, ext. 1104, firstname.lastname@example.org