Writer: D'Lyn Ford
LAS CRUCES - Using festivals and the Internet to help attract visitors to New Mexico's rural communities will be two of the topics addressed at a statewide meeting in Socorro Oct. 16 and 17. New Mexico State University's Rural Economic Development Through Tourism (REDTT) project will open its annual meeting to the public this year.
"The meeting will provide valuable information for anyone interested in tourism," said REDTT coordinator Mike Cook. "We will be talking about regionalization and its growing importance to tourism, setting up nonprofit organizations and applying for tourism grants."
Additional workshops will cover hospitality training, media relations and conducting familiarization tours. Cook said because many of the techniques that will be presented at the meeting have been used successfully, REDTT wants to share the information with as many people as possible.
"We want to focus as much as we can on rural tourism," Cook said. "We want to show people some of the very basic ways to get tourists into their community and, frankly, to get them to stay a little bit longer and spend a little bit more money."
State Tourism Secretary Janet Green will be the keynote speaker at a banquet featuring all New Mexico foods. There will also be historic tours of Socorro and Magdalena. Registration is free to members of REDTT county tourism councils in the 12 counties REDTT serves: Chaves, Cibola, DeBaca, Doņa Ana, Eddy, Lea, Lincoln, Luna, Otero, Sandoval, Sierra and Socorro. For other participants, the cost is $50. The registration deadline is Sept. 16. For more information, call Cook at (505) 646-8009. REDTT is a program of NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service and promotes agriculture through tourism.
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