Growing recreation and tourism in North Idaho

COEUR d’ALENE — Idaho overnight visitors statewide spent more than $1.8 billion in 2008, and in Kootenai County alone, recreation and tourism employs nearly 14 percent of the work force.

To support this growing sector of the region’s economy, University of Idaho-Coeur d’Alene is introducing a Recreation and Tourism Speaker Series this October, featuring experts with insights into business, marketing and leadership development within the industry.

The series kicks off Wednesday, Oct. 10, from 4 to 5 p.m. at the U-Idaho Harbor Center, 1031 N. Academic Way in Coeur d’Alene, with speaker Jeanna Hofmeister, chief marketing officer for Visit Spokane. Hofmeister is responsible for advertising and strategic marketing of the Spokane region to leisure, group and convention travelers.

She will present, “Marketing Strategies for Domestic Tourism Dollars and Cents.” Domestic tourism refers to people visiting destinations within their own country, and accounts for about 99 percent of all tourism in the US.

Hofmeister is an Emmy Award-winning writer and has worked as a communications and marketing consultant to governmental organizations and private businesses around the world.

She studied communications at University of Washington and the University of Idaho, and recently earned credentials as a Certified Destination Management Executive through Purdue University. She is one of five experts to be featured in the series.

“One of the core goals of the University of Idaho’s northern Idaho operations is to support local and regional business development,” said Charles Buck, University of Idaho associate vice president for North Idaho. “We work with the business community throughout northern Idaho and in eastern Washington to identify their needs, and to meet those needs with educational opportunities.

“This series will highlight our region’s tourism and recreation industry, and provide a forum for students and community members to learn more about this important sector. In addition to highlighting the challenges and opportunities for the industry, our speakers will discuss how their own training and educational experiences have contributed to their success.”

Each presentation will be from 4 to 5 p.m. Upcoming talks include:

Nov. 14: Karen Ballard, administrator for tourism development, Idaho Department of Commerce, presents. “International Marketing for Idaho Tourism.”

Feb. 13: A speaker, TBD, from the Coeur d’Alene Casino and Resort.

March 13: Thomas Cusick, senior vice president of finance/CFO of Columbia Sportswear presents, “The Business Side of Rec-Tech.”

April 10: Rick Steltenpohl, executive director of Spokane Hoopfest, presents, “Using Servant Leadership to Create a World Class Tourist Event.”

Information: or 667-2588

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