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ARC Tourism Advisory Council Meeting Summaries



July 31, 2013

On July 31, 2013, the ARC Tourism Advisory Council met at ARC headquarters, in Washington, D.C., to review work completed since the group's December 2012 meeting. Agenda items included an update on ARC program activities; planning and development of a new marketing campaign for the "Appalachian Food Heritage" mapguide to be produced in partnership with American Heritage Society, and discussion of tourism activities in the Appalachian states.

The proposed Appalachian Food Heritage mapguide will be a tourist-oriented printed map designed to stimulate economic development by showcasing distinctive local food destinations in Appalachia. Sites to be featured in the guide include local farms, farmers markets, farm-to-table restaurants, and other culinary destinations. The guide will take advantage of the fast-growing demand from consumers for authentic local food destinations and provides an opportunity to showcase the abundance and diversity of Appalachia's food heritage as part of a broader tourism program that attracts national and international visitors.

At the meeting, council members reviewed a first draft of the mapguide, provided feedback on the guide's first round of nominations, and discussed the project timeline and benchmarks. Additionally, members reviewed marketing opportunities surrounding the mapguide's release in early 2014.

The meeting also included updates from council members on other tourism-related events in the 13 Appalachian states.

Meeting agenda (PDF: 85 KB)


December 13, 2012

On December 13, 2012, the ARC Tourism Advisory Council met at ARC headquarters, in Washington, D.C., to review work completed since the group's May 2012 meeting. Agenda items included the development of content guidelines and nomination criteria, as well as branding concepts, for a new tourism promotion venture—an Appalachian food and farm guide—to be completed by December 2013.

The proposed guide will be a tourist-oriented printed map designed to stimulate economic development by showcasing distinctive local food destinations in Appalachia. Sites to be featured in the guide include local farms, farmers markets, farm-to-table restaurants, and other culinary destinations. The guide will take advantage of the fast-growing demand from consumers for authentic local food destinations and provides an opportunity to showcase the abundance and diversity of Appalachia's food heritage as part of a broader tourism program that attracts national and international visitors.

Council members reviewed and provided feedback on the guide's content nomination process, project timeline, and project benchmarks. Additionally, they reviewed branding concepts and design samples. Finally, Bob Jenkins of American Heritage Publishing Company spoke on the inclusion of the guide in the spring 2014 issue of American Heritage magazine, and about the magazine's plans to publish an accompanying article and to provide associated tourism marketing services at no cost to the 13 Appalachian states.

The meeting also included updates from council members on other tourism-related events in the Appalachian states.

Meeting agenda (PDF: 111 KB)


May 22, 2012
On May 22, 2012, the ARC Tourism Advisory Council met at ARC headquarters, in Washington, D.C., to review work completed since the group's August 2011 meeting. Agenda items included an update on ARC program activities; an evaluation of the marketing campaign for the "Civil War: The Home Front" map guide, launched in April 2011; a presentation on national efforts to attract a greater number of international tourists to the United States; and discussion of emerging opportunities for Tourism Advisory Council collaboration.


The "Civil War: The Home Front" map guide highlighted multiple Civil War–related attractions in Appalachia by presenting the unique stories behind each destination. The map guide coincided with the broader efforts of the National Park Service to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Civil War. It was distributed as a pullout in the spring 2011 issue of American Heritage magazine and as a freestanding map guide to target markets. According to independent researcher Cheryl Hargrove of Hargrove International, the map guide's release generated media coverage including 45 newspaper articles in the United States and Canada, 15 television segments, and a feature on National Public Radio. Additionally, American Heritage Publishing Company reported that the spring 2011 issue of American Heritage was the highest-selling issue of the magazine in four years, generating over 8,200 Reader Service leads and a 30 percent increase in unique visitors to www.americanheritage.com. In addition, state Tourism Advisory Council members documented an increase in visitation to, and publicity and media and public inquiries about, key tourism sites as a result of this collaborative project.

Julie Heizer from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Office of Travel and Tourism Industries then presented information on recent efforts to attract a greater number of international tourists to the United States. Her presentation included details on recent travel trends for inbound travelers to the United States; short and long-term forecasts on tourist arrivals to the U.S.; the National Travel and Tourism Strategy, released by the Obama administration on May 10, 2012; and the recently formed public-private Corporation for Travel Promotion, which does business as Brand USA. Discussion focused on ways to ensure that Appalachian communities, particularly those in rural areas, can maximize these efforts for local economic benefit.

The group next discussed emerging opportunities for collaboration. While the group will still consider ongoing Civil War–related promotions, there was strong interest in capitalizing on ARC's recent efforts to promote local food systems in Appalachia and the strong tourist demand for authentic local food and agritourism activities and destinations (including farmers markets, local farms, distinctive restaurants, and food-related events and festivals). Such an effort would promote those Appalachian destinations that best showcase the distinctiveness of local food. Additional work is needed to develop a proposal, estimate costs, and prepare a detailed scope of work before a promotion could be launched.

Finally, council members provided updates on tourism-related events in the 13 Appalachian states.

Meeting agenda (PDF: 94 KB)


December 14, 2010

The ARC Tourism Advisory Council met at ARC headquarters on December 14, 2010, bringing together state and federal stakeholders in Appalachian tourism to review work completed since the group's September meeting. ARC Federal Co-Chair Earl Gohl welcomed representatives from the Appalachian states and thanked participants for their commitment to strengthening Appalachian tourism. The main agenda topic was the ongoing development of a project to strengthen tourism in Appalachia through the strategic distribution of a Civil War–themed map guide.

"Civil War: The Home Front" will highlight multiple Civil War–related attractions in Appalachia by presenting the unique stories behind each destination. The map guide coincides with the broader efforts of the National Park Service to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Civil War and is scheduled for completion by February 2011. It will be distributed via American Heritage magazine.

Council members reviewed and provided feedback on the map guide text, cartography, and photos, and discussed development of a companion Web site. Bob Jenkins of American Heritage Publishing Company confirmed the inclusion of the map in the spring 2011 issue of American Heritage magazine, and spoke about the magazine's plans to publish an article to accompany the map and to provide associated tourism marketing services at no cost to the 13 Appalachian states.

Other items on the agenda included a discussion of events surrounding the National Park Service's commemoration of the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, and promotional activities tied to the launch of the Civil War map guide. Council members also provided updates on other tourism-related events in the 13 Appalachian states.

Meeting agenda (PDF: 100 KB)

ARC Tourism Advisory Council members