Sunday, November 16, 2008

Michigan's Great Outdoors Conference

Michigan's Great Outdoors logo
by Joan H. Young

Michigan's Great Outdoors (MGO) is a an informal partnership of tourism leaders in Manistee, Mason, Lake, Oceana, and Newaygo Counties. It's mission is to promote tourism and stimulate the economies of the member counties.

On October 27, MGO held their fifth annual conference at West Shore Community College. The 2008 Conference theme was "Tourism as an Economic Engine." Participants included Ken Wasco of Gordon Food Services; West Michigan Tourist Association President, Rick Hert; Laurence Farardeau, coordinator for Oakland County Planning and Economic Development Services; Sharon Nunnelee of West Michigan Trails and Greenways Coalition; and Dave Ivan of Michigan State University.
Michigan's Great Outdoors 2008 Conference
displays at the 2008 MGO Conference
photo credit Wendy Marek

Wasco energized the group with his presentation "Wowing Customers One Generation at a Time." He pointed out that in 1975 consumers waited for seven minutes before forming a first impression. By 1991 that margin had been reduced to two minutes. Now, says Wasco, a business has seven seconds to make a first impression on a customer.

Topics covered by other speakers included tax incentives for filmmakers in Michigan, cultural tourism successes, and trails and tourism.

An expansive luncheon, prepared largely from locally produced foods was served.

Attendees included business owners with services and products related to tourism, and other interested individuals.

Sara Kronlein, Ludington Area Chamber of Commerce, described the conference as "a determined effort to foster local cooperation."

Michigan Great Outdoors President, Sandy Crandall, gave an update on the regional partnership. She said, "the organization is heading in the right direction. I think our group leadership is proactive... and problem solving."

The conference is held annually in late October or early November. If you are involved in tourism in any way, watch for the 2009 dates and register early. For the (early registration) price of $35, the information and networking opportunities is an outstanding value.

See Michigan's Great Outdoors
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