Experience tourism in the 21st century in New Jersey and engage with current research, program models, and business development in tourism.

National Extension Tourism Conference: Tourism in the 21st Century

Nassau Inn, Princeton, NJ | August 8 – 10, 2017

This conference is an outstanding opportunity for Extension professionals and others working in the broad area of tourism and recreation – including tourism service providers and businesses – to share programs, initiatives, research, and success stories, and to network with other professionals.


Rutgers University, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, Cooperative Extension

Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station

Rutgers Cooperative Extension

Conference Registration

Registration Fee for Full Conference: $475

Registration Fee for One Day Only: $225 (Choose Aug. 9 or 10)
Registration Fee for Students: $250 (must present ID to be admitted)

If you are attending the full conference, please select your desired Mobile Workshop for August 8 when you register. Additional fees apply for some workshops. Mobile workshop descriptions can be found in the Agenda.

Registration for this conference is now closed.

About the 2017 NET Conference

This conference is an outstanding opportunity for Extension professionals and others working in the broad area of tourism and recreation – including tourism service providers and businesses – to share programs, initiatives, research, and success stories, and to network with other professionals.

This year’s theme, “Tourism in the 21st Century: Connecting Communities, Places, and People,” focuses on the important role that tourism plays in many aspects of communities, places, and people.

Keynote Speaker: Brent Hales, Ph.D.

Brent Hales, Keynote Speaker for 2017 NET Conference

Brent D. Hales, Ph.D. serves as the Senior Associate Dean of Extension at the University of Minnesota.  His primary area of research is the adoption innovation-based community and economic development and entrepreneurship. He is the founder the Southern Entrepreneurship Program, which teaches entrepreneurship skills to high school and community college students, and to displaced workers throughout the U.S.

Conference Agenda

As an added benefit for our valued attendees, we have made the presentations from many of our speakers available for download in PDF format! Click on the agenda headings below to view related materials from our speakers.

Monday, August 7

4:00-8:00 pm: Registration Open

Tuesday, August 8

8:00-5:00pm: Registration Open

Choose one of the following Mobile Workshops! Click on the workshop titles to view the full descriptions. All tours will return to the Nassau Inn by 5:30pm.

[expand title=”Mobile Workshop One: Self-Guided Walking Tour of Historic Princeton“]

Fee: None (however, some attractions may charge admission fees)

Don’t feel like an organized tour?  Enjoy a day spent exploring historic Princeton at your own pace.  Notables from Albert Einstein to T.S. Eliot to Presidents Grover Cleveland and Woodrow Wilson have all called Princeton home.

Visit dozens of unique shops and dining options in the historic downtown, browse art galleries and museums, or simply enjoy the community’s rich architectural history.  Walk through the campus of world-renowned Princeton University (check out the university’s online Orange Key virtual tour).  The magnificent Cleveland Tower, University Chapel, and Nassau Hall are must-sees.

Take a 10-minute walk from the Nassau Inn to visit historic Morven, built by Richard Stockton (a signer of the Declaration of Independence) in the 1750s.  A National Historic Landmark, Morven served as the home for five New Jersey governors (1945 to 1981) and is today a museum and garden open to the public.

Princeton also appeals to Revolutionary War enthusiasts, with notable attractions including the Princeton Battle Monument (a short walk from the conference site) and nearby Princeton Battlefield State Park.  Did you know?  Princeton University’s Nassau Hall served briefly as the United States capitol in 1783.

Want more ideas?  Click here for map of notable destinations within a few block walk from the Nassau Inn.

Lunch will be on your own at any of the many dining options in town. For suggestions, please refer to our Things to Do document.


[expand title=”Mobile Workshop Two: No Longer Available“]


[expand title=”Mobile Workshop Three: Agritourism: Bringing Agriculture to the People by Bringing People to the Farm“]

Fee: $20.00

Bus departure: 9:30 am; Lunch will be provided at the Howell Living History Farm.

New Jersey is the most densely populated states in the country.  It is also home to a rich and diverse agricultural industry with many farms existing since before the Revolutionary War.  Agriculture is the state’s third largest industry.  As the state has changed, so has agriculture.  Today, many of the Garden State’s farmers have incorporated agritourism activities to increase profit.  These innovative entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the large population base and have opened their farms to create a unique visitor experience.  This tour will demonstrate how farmers are incorporating agritourism activities on their farm to promote economic diversity for both operators, communities and the tourism industry in New Jersey.

Our first destination will be Terhune Orchards, operated by the Mount family. This 200-acre farm is among New Jersey’s largest, year-round direct marketing and agritourism operations.  Farm operations include tree fruit, small fruit, a vineyard and organic vegetable production.  An onsite bakery supplies fresh items for the farm store.  Owners Gary and Pam Mount will highlight the farm’s evolution and adaptations undertaken at the farm, which today make it a well-noted destination within the country’s most urbanized state.

Next, we will stop at historic Howell Living History Farm, operated by Mercer County Parks. Farming at this location dates to the 1730s.  There are many farm buildings to explore and a newly restored 1800’s farmhouse to visit.  Nestled amidst suburbia, the farm offers a glimpse back at the farming practices of the 1890-1910 period and provides year-round educational programming and hands-on activities.  Tour participants will eat lunch at this destination.

Our last stop will be Hopewell Valley Vineyards.  A notable example of New Jersey’s growing winery industry, Hopewell Valley Vineyards boasts a growing number of award winning wines that blend “Old World traditions with New World flair.”  Owners Sergio and Violetta will lead a tour of the operation and provide tastings of their wines.


[expand title=”Mobile Workshop Four: Nature-based Tourism in the Most Densely Populated State in the Country *FULL*“]

This workshop is full! Please select another workshop choice when registering.

Fee: $40.00

*Limited to 13 Participants*

Bus departure: 7:00 am; Lunch will be provided at Duke Farms.

MEADOWLANDS DISCOVERY – This trip takes participants on an excursion through the lower tidal reaches of the Hackensack River and its wildlife-rich estuary, the Meadowlands, aboard the Hackensack RiverKeeper’s specially rigged 30-foot pontoon boat.  We will ride with Captain Bill Sheehan, an Eco-landmark in his own right.  The trip is 2.5 hours.   The shallow draft of our boats enables us to visit numerous wetlands, including the Mill Creek Marsh, Kingsland Creek and the Berry’s Creek Canal; but the highlight of every Meadowlands Eco-Cruise is a trip through the Sawmill Creek Wildlife Management Area – the “Jewel of the Meadowlands.” The Sawmill WMA is home to a staggering amount of wildlife, including shorebirds, waterfowl, herons, raptors, muskrats and terrapins.

DUKE FARMS, a 2,740-acre estate serves as a leader in environmental stewardship and sustainability, while inspiring visitors to become informed stewards of the land.  We will learn a bit about the history of Duke Farms from its beginnings as a dream for “Buck” Buchannan Duke, to a sanctuary retreat for Doris Duke.  We will be welcomed by Michael Catania, Executive Director of Duke Farms where we will have lunch while he tells us about the history of Duke Farms from its beginnings as a dream for “Buck” Buchannan Duke, to a sanctuary retreat for Doris Duke to its role now as an environmental beacon and role model for New Jersey.  Duke Farms has solar panels for its magnificent orchid house, its large historic horse barn is converted to an educational center and is heated and cooled with geothermal and all wastes are treated on site with a wetland waste treatment.  We will then tour some of the beautiful site and see some of the environmental practices while enjoying the beautiful scenery.


6:30-9:00pm: Opening Reception/Rutgers Leadership/Poster Session

Wednesday, August 9

7:30-12:00pm: Registration Open

7:30-8:30am: Breakfast

8:30-8:45am: Open Discussion

8:45-9:45am: Keynote Address – Brent Hales (includes 15-minute Q&A) (Download Presentation PDF)

10:00-11:30am: [expand title=”Concurrent Session 1 (Choice of three tracks; click to view details.)“]


  • Assessing Farm Safety For Agritourism Operations
    William J. Bamka, Associate Professor, Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Rutgers Cooperative Extension
    Brian J. Schilling, Associate Extension Specialist, Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, Rutgers University
    Michelle Infante-Casella, Associate Professor, Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Rutgers Cooperative Extension
    Stephen Komar, Associate Professor, Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Rutgers Cooperative Extension

    Across the country, farmers are opening their doors to tourists looking for an on farm experience. The business of making farms travel destinations for educational and recreational purposes, commonly called agritourism, is an important type of alternative farm enterprise. Production/wholesale farms are accustomed to managing financial and production risks. However, agritourism activities bring additional legal, social and financial risks that must be understood. When developing agritourism activities safety planning is essential. The very nature of agritourism is to invite outsiders to your farm. Many individuals can be several generations removed from the farm and have no knowledge of farming practices and associated risks. As part of a NESARE-funded project the Rutgers Agritourism Team developed educational programming for agricultural educators and service providers interested in agritourism development. A key component of the training programming was to assist farmers in identifying and minimizing farm safety risks that could impact agritourism operations.
  • Farm Like A Woman In Agritourism! Joining Efforts To Succeed (Download Presentation PDF)
    Ann Savage, Carla Barbieri, Ph.D., Susan Jakes, Ph.D., Duarte Morais, Ph.D., North Carolina State University
    The North Carolina (NC) Women in Agritourism project was formulated as a two-year integrated research-extension project with the goal of understanding how women in agritourism define success and the challenges they are facing in attaining that success. This project emerged from evidence indicating that while women are often the agritourism innovators, they make significantly less than their male counterparts. Possible factors for this could include women emphasizing other aspects of success over economics, while also facing unique challenges in the agricultural landscapes of the U.S., which are still yet to be addressed. A multi-methods approach was used to achieve the goals of the project and to create outputs including a webinar for extension agents, a two-day workshop for women in agritourism and extension agents, and an educational curriculum that will integrate all project learnings.
  • On-Farm Direct Marketing Agricultural Management Practices Protections For Farmers In New Jersey (Download Presentation PDF)
    Michelle Infante-Casella, Agricultural Agent and Associate Professor, Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station Cooperative Extension
    In NJ, the Right to Farm Act provides protections for farmers following generally accepted agricultural management practices (AMP’s) and provides formal and legal conflict resolution processes to address conflicts between a farmer and complainants. The County Agricultural Development Board (CADB) has jurisdiction to review agriculture-related disputes and complainants must file with the CADB before taking any other legal action. On-farm direct marketing (OFDM) AMP protections are an option for farmers in NJ. Selling direct to the public can increase farm profits, but also increases traffic, noise, and may extend business hours. OFDM operations may increase farmer-neighbor conflicts. Additionally, municipal permits, aesthetic mandates, signage restrictions, and other rules may make it difficult for some farmers to establish OFDM operations. Therefore, previous Right to Farm protections were inadequate and a detailed AMP was a priority for farms with OFDM. The OFDM AMP rule became effective in New Jersey, as of April 2014.


  • Assessing The Economic Impact Of Cruise Ship Passengers Visiting Destination Markets: The Case Of Bar Harbor, Maine (Download Presentation PDF)
    James C. McConnon, Jr., University of Maine and Todd M. Gabe, University of Maine
    The cruise ship tourism industry is an important source of economic activity in many ports and surrounding communities across the United States. It can help diversify the economic base, enhance entrepreneurship, and improve employment conditions. The cruise industry has experienced remarkable growth in Bar Harbor, Maine. The town hosted 117 cruise ships carrying an estimated 163,000 passengers in 2016, a 36 percent increase above the 120,000 passengers who visited in 2002. This session will present an overview of the methodology and results from a University of Maine applied research and extension study that examined the local economic impact of cruise ship passengers visiting Bar Harbor, Maine in 2016. Participants will learn about this exciting collaborative project and some creative ways in which local economic development officials and small business owners can maximize the benefits of cruise ship visitor spending in their regions.
  • Documenting The Impact Of An Agricultural Events Facility
    Stacy Tomas, Assistant Professor, Oklahoma State University, School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration
    Kiyan Shafieizadeh, Ph.D. Student, Oklahoma State University
    Many rural communities have agricultural facilities which host agricultural and other community events, and thus serve as a tourism draw. These facilities are often funded by local municipal and/or county funds. When agricultural facility mangers have to compete for funds with other public services, it becomes difficult to justify the need for continued or increased funding, due to lack of sufficient information about the economic and community benefits of the facility. The goal of this project is to assist the local agricultural facility manager and tourism authority by providing them with needed data and information. While the study is still in progress, preliminary results will be shared, as well as the strategies employed to collect data as efficiently and affordably as possible. Thus, the presentation will demonstrate how to generate data at a relatively low cost to support the case to reposition agriculture facilities as economic and community development engines.
  • Estimating The Economic Contribution Of Bicycling Events In Minnesota (Download Presentation PDF)
    Xinyi Qian, Ph.D., University of Minnesota Tourism Center
    Brigid Tuck, M.S., University of Minnesota Extension
    This study estimated the total economic impact of bicycling events in Minnesota. An online questionnaire was used to collect data on visitor characteristics and spending pattern from a selected sample of bicycling events in Minnesota. The data was used to estimate the economic impact of Minnesota bicycling events using IMPLAN, an input-output model. The identified 101 bicycling events, lasting an average of 1.4 days, attracted approximately 61,610 participants, of which 50% were visitors. These visitors were accompanied by an additional 19,407 travel companions. The average visitor spent $121.20 per day, generating a total impact of $14 million, including $4.6 million in labor income, supporting 150 FTE jobs. The findings can bring together event organizers and officials of economic development and tourism to orchestrate efforts of using bicycling events to promote bicycling facilities and event-hosting communities. Communities could offer event-related specials for shopping and family-friendly activities to generate additional visitor spending.


  • Developing And Evaluating A Web-Based Climatological Tool For Tourism Providers
    Jordan W. Smith, Ph.D., Institute of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism, Department of Environment and Society, Utah State University
    We present a web-based tool that allows tourism providers to visually explore how climatological conditions have changed over the observable historical record for any geographic area in the world. The tool returns a set of time-series graphs illustrating how a variety of climatic conditions have changed between 1901 and 2015. Specific climatic conditions include: 1) mean monthly temperature; 2) maximum monthly temperature; 3) minimum monthly temperature; 4) monthly diurnal temperature range; 5) monthly precipitation; 6) monthly wet days; 7) monthly potential evapotranspiration; 8) monthly cloud cover; 9) monthly ground frost frequency; and 10) monthly vapor pressure. The tool provides tourism providers the ability to explore how climatic conditions have changed over the historical record. With this information, providers can make more proactive management decisions regarding how to best adapt to climatic conditions in the future.
  • John Henry: Myth Or Legend (Download Presentation PDF)
    Stacy Ford, Community Development Extension Agent, West Virginia State University Extension
    The legend of John Henry is not just a tall tale but a story of strength, determination, human will and spirit. And this is exactly how a small community in WV took a story from 1870’s and built a legend, a festival, a park, a museum and a culture. Much like John Henry the folks of Talcott, WV have worked since the 1970’s to honor the Steel Driving Man. Learn how this community came together and will be celebrating 22 years of John Henry Days. You’ll hear some examples of making it work with what you’ve got and some lessons learned. Also see how you can utilize nearby assets.
  • The Alaska/Japan Polar Bear Collaboration As A Geotourism Initiative
    Professor H Matsuura, Associate Professor at Taisei Gakuin University Japan and Alaska-Japan Bridgebuilder
    Edgar Blatchford, Associate Professor, University of Alaska Anchorage
    Judy Hargis, Travel Writer and Web Editor for AlaskaGeotourism
    Tony Nakazawa, Professor, University of Alaska Fairbanks
    The Alaska/Japan Polar Bear Collaboration is a Geotourism Initiative involving the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage Alaska and the Tobe Zoo in Ehime Japan.  The effort is to realize the new evolving public education role of Zoos regarding climate change and the role that Zoos can have in educating their respective communities, regions and hence respective nations in our changing world and the importance of community sustainability. This panel presentation will include highlights of this event and the future collaborations envisioned by the Tobe Zoo and the Alaska Zoo in promoting public education and in support of sustainability issues as they relate to the changing climate, and the evolving topic of climate change. Alaska’s community-based tourism initiative, such as this initiative involving this international zoo exchange has embraced the concept of Geotourism – quoting founder Jonathan Tourtello, “An economic approach for maximizing beneficial tourism and good destination stewardship.”


11:45-12:45pm: [expand title=”Workshop 1 (Choice of two workshops; click to view details)“]


  • Farm Safety And Liability Management: Guidance For Your Agritourism Clientele
    Brian Schilling (Rutgers), Stephen Komar (Rutgers), Michelle Infante-Casella (Rutgers), William Bamka (Rutgers), Lisa Chase (U. Vermont)
    Inviting the public to enjoy farm-based educational or recreational activities presents opportunities for farmers to expand income, diversify products and markets, stabilize farm income fluctuations, and create employment opportunities for family members. Agritourism also presents new challenges to farms, especially in the areas of farm safety and liability management. Providing support for farms interested in agritourism can be a challenge for Extension professionals because the industry is undergoing rapid development in many states. At the same time, the breadth of technical assistance (expertise, resources) and dedicated Extension programming in the area of agritourism risk management is often limited. This workshop provides practical advice to Extension personnel, agricultural service providers, and community development specialists designed to help clientele (1) prepare farms for the safe accommodation of agritourism visitors, (2) understand the basic tenets of legal liability, and (3) develop proactive liability management strategies. Web-based educational resources ( will be introduced.


  • Space For Place – Creating Interpretive Spaces For Place-Based Tourism Planning
    Ted Lee Eubanks, Founder and President, Fermata Inc.
    Tourism planning is focused on specific places (the destinations) that people (the markets) can visit and experience. Park planning concerns the development of places where people can recreate. Community planning considers the places where people live and work. All begin and end with place. Yet, place alone is devoid of meaning. We come to understand place through lived experiences. Our understanding of and experiences within our places, our communities, is expressed though narrative. The workshop will introduce participants to narrative-based planning, and help attendees better understand how narrative can shape planning within their agencies, organizations, and communities. The workshop will lead participants through the development of narratives for their own communities and tourism efforts. The result will be participants that are armed with both the concepts and the tools necessary to shape their communities planning and tourism development efforts through narrative.


12:45-1:45pm: Lunch

1:45-2:15pm: Poster Session

2:30-4:00pm: [expand title=”Concurrent Session 2 (Choice of two tracks; click to view details.)“]


  • Agritourism & DFM In Ontario, Canada (Download Presentation PDF)
    Suzanne Ainley, Ph.D., Senior Consultant, The Ainley Group
    The Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Association (OFFMA) surveyed its members in 2016 to learn about the economic impacts, opportunities and challenges faced by direct-farm marketers in the province. This study builds on previous studies conducted in 2005 and 2009 by this membership based not-for-profit. The results of the2016 OFFMA study in particular; along with how DFM and agritourism has developed in Ontario over the past decade since OFFMA began conducting its studies will be shared.  In addition, the most recent Canadian census of agriculture conducted a year ago asked farmers for the first time about selling direct to consumers. The overlap between the new census data and the 2016 OFFMA members’ survey gives an opportunity to draw upon both studies to better understand the state of Ontario DFM and agritourism.
  • Obtaining An American Viticulture Area (AVA) Designation (Download Presentation PDF)
    Jenny Carleo, County Agent II, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Cape May County
    Securing an AVA through the TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) can be a daunting challenge. The assertion that the region is different from the next must be made in the application, but should also be corroborated by data. The following recommendations on crafting a high-quality application are based on the experiences of the developers of one of the most recently submitted applications for an AVA – the Cape May Peninsula. Recommendations include: 1) focus the AVA application on what makes the wine and region unique; 2) organize and substantiate the arguments with data; 3) data should be collected in a confidential manner and presented in simple illustrations and in laymen’s terms, and 4) market the AVA concept internally to local growers to get full grower endorsement. Following these recommendations should assist in garnering support from various resources and partners as well as developing and presenting a well-executed argument.
  • Update On Limited Liability Statutes In Agritourism
    Steven M. Ruby, J.D., Clinical Assistant Professor, School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration, Oklahoma State University
    Stacy R. Tomas, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration, Oklahoma State University
    Protection from liability and/or related issues, generally, is considered a significant challenge to agritourism operators and paramount to development, maintenance and future expansion of agritourism operations. Several states have taken action in recognition of these vital agritourism issues. The continued monitoring and updating of information regarding the interpretation of these statutes will be of upmost importance going forward. This presentation will provide an overview of the current national state of limited liability statutes in agritourism as well as related practical impacts that have been studied to date. Attendees should draw on information that will assist in communicating the utility of limited liability statues within their states, information from other states that can be instructive in the potential application of their own states’ limited liability statues, and/or practical impacts that may result from limited liability statutes.


  • Agritourism And Placemaking In Wisconsin
    Innisfree McKinnon, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Geography, Social Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin Stout
    This research examines the work of agritourism and how agritourism impacts farms, farm families, and communities in SW Wisconsin. Using a mix of geospatial analysis and interviews with farmers and community members in 2015, I examine how farmers who choose to engage in agritourism negotiate the dual demands of managing their farms and visitors. I find that farmers undertake significant placemaking work, creating and recreating their farms as places that welcome visitors and create new understandings of rural space. These processes of placemaking have significant potential impacts, demanding new work arrangements for farm families, and new understandings of rural space for neighbors and communities.
  • Jump-Starting Rural Tourism: Education That Creates Change
    Description coming soon!
  • Tourism & Recreation Deliver Positive Local Impacts: Examples, Innovations, Ideas (Download Handout PDF)
    Kendra Briechle, Manager-Community and Economic Development, The Conservation Fund
    Let’s share how communities capitalize on recreation and tourism to benefit both residents and visitors. We have 18 years of experience working with more than 700 communities on how to balance nature and commerce. A hallmark of our work is to bring diverse constituencies together to develop on-the-ground solutions for people and places. We’d like to share success stories as well as hear about your challenges and questions on how to use tourism and recreation to strengthen economies, environment, and communities. Come prepared to hear more on economic possibilities (new business development, small-scale manufacturing, arts, downtown revitalization), community impacts (workforce development, food security, youth engagement, health and community investments), and environmental results (trail to town connections, conservation, celebration of American stories, and recognition of forgotten or difficult chapters in American history).


4:15-5:00pm: Plenary Session – New Jersey Tourism, Ryck Suydam, President, NJ Farm Bureau

5:00pm: Dinner (on your own)

Thursday, August 10

7:30-12:00pm: Registration Open

7:30-8:30am: Breakfast

8:30-10:00am: [expand title=”Concurrent Session 3 (Choice of three tracks; click to view details.)“]


  • Agritourism And Fresh Produce: Identifying Food Safety Risks
    Meredith Melendez, Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension
    The Rutgers On-Farm Food Safety Team has focused efforts on evaluating risks at agritourism operations throughout New Jersey. Farm walk-throughs, confidential on-farm sampling, identification of priority focus areas and multiple presentations and workshops have been offered for agritourism operations. The main priority of this research and outreach has been to reduce human pathogen contamination risks on farms. Key identified risks include worker health and hygiene, irrigation water quality and use, domestic animals and livestock, wildlife activity, product contact surfaces, postharvest water quality and use, on-farm sales locations, pick-your-own activities, community supported agriculture distribution, and public access to production areas. Agritourism activities have been observed through farm visits and on-farm sampling has been conducted to evaluate production practices and risks in the mid-Atlantic region at over 40 New Jersey farms. The lab results have guided the development of outreach programs for farms growing produce that is typically consumed raw.
  • Educating Farmers To Utilize SWOT Analysis For Direct Marketing And Agritourism Operations (Download Presentation PDF)
    Michelle Infante-Casella, William Bamka, Stephen Komar, Brian Schilling, Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station Cooperative Extension
    Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat (SWOT) analysis is a business planning tool that can be utilized by farmers to assess potential changes to their operations. The Rutgers Agritourism Group teaches SWOT analysis to farmers via extension education programs and through a toolkit, “SWOT Analysis for On-Farm Direct Marketing Operations” found at Internal factors of strengths and weaknesses are controlled by the farmer and must be looked at objectively to accomplish proposed goals. Components of the business like infrastructure, finances, skills, and risk assessment are some of the items discussed. Assessing opportunities and threats identifies external factors not controlled by the farmer. Opportunities such as high per-capita income or current market trends may positively influence the farm business. Examples of threats include weather, poor economy, or overburdening regulations. Farmer self-assessment using SWOT analysis has been well received and continues to be taught in extension educational to help improve farm management.
  • Insights On The Food Artisan Sector From British Columbia, Canada
    Nicole Vaugeois and John Predyk, Vancouver Island University
    Food artisans play a critical role in providing destinations with authentic food products for residents and visitors and in growing the food tourism industry. This presentation will describe an initiative taken to create a profile of BC’s food artisan sector including: a) a definition and description of food artisans; b) growth in consumer demand and business; c) identification of distribution mechanisms and markets; d) an estimate of the contributions to employment, sales and procurement of ingredients; e) identification of the future business plans and aspirations of BC food artisans and e) identification of challenges to business growth. The study validated the notion that consumer demand for artisanal products has been increasing resulting in growth trajectory for businesses. It also dispels myths about the size of the sector and its ability to provide income and employment for rural areas.


  • Migration Decision-Making In A Tourism-Dependent Rural Community
    Tammy Koerte & Deborah Kerstetter, Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University
    In the United States some rural communities rich in natural amenities and recreational opportunities have adopted tourism as a form of economic development; however, little is known about the effects of tourism development on the migration decision-making processes of emerging adults in these communities. Research was conducted on the migration decision-making processes of emerging adults in a rural tourism context, and more specifically, whether tourism influenced their migration decisions. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 32 emerging adults between the ages of 25 and 29 who completed high school on the island of Kauai, Hawaii to understand how they made the decision to remain, leave, or return to Kauai as adults. Results of this study and its practical and scholarly implications will be discussed. In addition, lessons learned in conducting this research study and suggestions for research will be shared.
  • Tourism In County-Level Planning And Policy Documents (Download Presentation PDF)
    Xinyi Qian, Ph.D., University of Minnesota Tourism Center
    Felipe Barroso, M.S., Graduate Research Assistant, University of Minnesota Tourism Center
    Cynthia Messer, M.A., University of Minnesota Tourism Center

    Using the Community Capitals Framework (CCF; Flora & Flora, 2013), this study examined language in county-level comprehensive plans within a Minnesota region to identify opportunities to modify the language to aid communities in tourism planning and development. We asked two research questions: Do county-level comprehensive plans elaborate on different types of community capitals relevant to tourism development? If so, how are they elaborated upon? We used directed content analysis to analyze the comprehensive plans. Results revealed that existing policies address community capitals unevenly. The frequent mentioning of natural capital may be due to the nature of the comprehensive plan, as the inclusion of land use and natural resource management policies is required by law. It also indicates strong potential for nature-based tourism in the region. Tourism-related built capital is the second most frequently identified, suggesting its importance to tourism development-related efforts. The infrequent mention of political, financial, and human capitals shows where opportunities lie. We also extended and enriched the CCF by identifying a new capital: tourism industry—capitals specifically relate to the tourism industry. Overall, the study suggests applying the CCF to policy documents has the potential to build understanding of and identify opportunities for future tourism development.
  • West Virginia’s Rural Tourism Design Team (Download Presentation PDF)
    Doug Arbogast, Rural Tourism Specialist, West Virginia University Extension Service
    West Virginia University’s Extension Service Community Resources and Economic Development partnered with the Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Resources Program, Landscape Architecture Department, and Graphic Design Program to develop the West Virginia Rural Tourism Design Team. The Team received a grant from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation in 2016 to create a Performance Agenda for the Tucker County Cultural District Authority. Planning activities were designed to acquire information from three groups of primary stakeholders in the destinations: leadership, residents, and visitors in order to accurately find and emphasize the positive, successes, and strengths to develop action strategies and provide design assistance for community-based tourism that represent the interests of a broad and diverse group of community stakeholders. This presentation will introduce participants to the planning and design activities developed and implemented by the WVU Rural Tourism Design Team and associated outcomes.


  • Assessing The Latino Visitor Experience In A Rural Minnesota Community: A Case Study (Download Presentation PDF)
    Cynthia Messer, M.A., Director, University of Minnesota Tourism Center
    LuAnn Hiniker, Ph.D., Regional Director, University of Minnesota Extension

    The tourism industry and communities increasingly recognize the importance of attracting, engaging and serving the needs of diverse visitors. In 2016, as part of a Tourism Assessment Program in Owatonna Minnesota, the University of Minnesota Tourism Center identified potential new audiences based on local assets. Owatonna is a rural community with a significant Latino population and tourism assets potentially appealing to Latino visitors. According to the Selig Center at the University of Georgia, the buying power of Latinos in the United States increased seven-fold between 1990 and 2015, and is projected to reach $1.72 trillion by 2020 (Humphreys, 2015). To explore the potential of Latino visitors for Owatonna, we conducted a “mystery shopper” visit with a group of Latinos representing a mix of gender, generations, professions and socio-economic status. This presentation highlights the process, discusses how communities may engage a new, diverse customer base and suggests implications for further research.
  • Social Impact Of The Individual Visitor Scheme (IVS) Of Chinese Mainland Tourists On Hong Kong: Evidence From Hong Kong Residents
    Huawen Shen, Xi Li, Ka Yin Chau
    Faculty of International Tourism and Management, City University of Macau

    This study is basically an explorative and explanatory research, with the overall purpose to identify, explore and analyze the social impact of IVS in the outbound destination of Hong Kong. The specific research objectives of this study are (1) to identify the major dimensions of the social impacts of IVS from the perspectives of local residents;(2) to investigate the impacts of the social dimensions of IVS on the attitudinal and behavioral inclinations of the local residents; (3) to propose practical measures to enhance the social sustainability of the IVS as a special mode of travel by mainland visitors to Hong Kong. Altogether there are five research components that are included, namely perceptions of government regulations, perceptions of social impact, level of place attachment, attitude and behavioral intentions. Both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies were employed in the study. The results of the study confirmed the applicability of classical models on social impact of tourism development, and indicate that the social impact of IVS can be distinguished by local residents in social, economic as well as cultural terms according to their social representations. Moreover, four hypothesized relationships tested, were all supported, except for one with minor modification. Specifically, social and cultural dimensions wielded significant impacts on resident attitude, whereas the economic dimensions did not influence resident attitude. In turn, resident attitude had a significant positive impact on behavioral intention. Meanwhile, both level of place attachment and perceptions of government regulations showed positive influences on both resident attitude and behavioral intention.
  • Tourism Improvement Districts: A Stable Funding Source For Local And State DMOs (Download Presentation PDF)  
    Nichole Farley, Account Manager, Civitas
    The session will inform attendees on the newest creative ways in which tourism improvement districts are being used to benefit destination marketing organizations, convention and visitor bureaus, hotels, and other tourism-related businesses. Historically Business Improvement Districts have been public-private partnerships focused on improving commercial areas. Marking an evolution of the concept, in 1989, hotels in West Hollywood, California formed the first Tourism Improvement District to fund group marketing efforts. The TID phenomenon has spread to 12 states, one state travel office with three others expected to follow suit this year, and three international destinations. This session will include an introduction to TIDs, provide the history behind TIDs, case studies, and an overview of the formation process.


10:10-11:40am: [expand title=”Concurrent Session 4 (Choice of three tracks; click to view details.)“]


  • Agritourism: Connecting Communities, Places, And People Through Food Systems
    Lisa Chase, University of Vermont Extension; Mary Stewart, Oregon State University Extension; Michelle Walk, Michigan State University Extension
    Agritourism is defined in different ways throughout the U.S. and around the world. In this session, we will present a graphic representation of the concept of agritourism and its various nuances. Panelists will lead a discussion about the many understandings of agritourism and how they can apply in different contexts. The latest research on national trends in agritourism will be presented, with comparisons between different geographic regions around the U.S. Using the community capitals as a framework, we will discuss agritourism as a model for community development. Case studies will be shared to illustrate how the community capitals framework can be applied to Extension programs in different states. The remainder of the session will allow for an open discussion of key areas of concern for participants, with the goal of defining high priority agritourism issues and next steps for moving forward with collaborative initiatives.
  • Butchering, Baking, Candling Stick Making
    Stephanie Larson, Ph.D., University of California Cooperative Extension
    Chryl Collins, Sonoma County Tourism

    University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) and Sonoma County Tourism partnered to increase tourism opportunities in Sonoma County, California. Sonoma County, known for its 425 wineries, miles of rugged Pacific coastline, and towering redwood forests; is also the home for many small scale agritourism businesses. “Building capacity through agritourism itineraries” partners with these agritourism businesses to create itineraries, combining adventures or experiences with local agritourism operations; farms, dairies, ranches. Adventure activities include experiences like milking cows, making bread, picking fruit, etc. An agritourism “itinerary trail” promoted through the Tourism Board, made available to tour companies, etc., will increase revenues from onsite or online sales. Agritourism operators’ can also benefit from established tourism, pairing with local wineries with established markets; shipping their products with wine. Itinerary building addressed insurance, marketing and liabilities as they related to multiple itineraries stops. Expanded capacity of agritourism businesses will increase revenues for local agricultural operators and extend vacation stays in Sonoma County.
  • Incorporating Value-Added Products Into Traditional Community Supported Agriculture Farms (Download Presentation PDF)
    Stephen Komar, William Bamka, Michelle Infante-Casella, Brian Schilling, Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station Cooperative Extension
    Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is becoming a very popular marketing strategy for many northeastern Farms, providing a wonderful marketing opportunity for producers and an exciting educational opportunity for consumers.   CSAs offer a new alternative to consumers interested in supporting local agriculture.  As this marketing alternative gains in popularity, more and more farms are offering CSAs.  In recent years, variations of the CSA model have been employed.  One new concept is the addition of value-added products to traditional CSA offerings.   Products such as jellies and jams, value-added meat products, packaged bird seed and many others have all allowed producers the opportunity to further market their farms, while providing additional revenues, season extension and additional opportunities to promote the agricultural industry and develop unique marketing opportunities for communities through farm to consumer marketing.  This alternative model allows for greater product diversity and provides opportunities for collaboration and cross-marketing with other farming operations.


  • Interpretive Guest Programming
    Miles Phillips, Oregon State University Extension/Oregon Sea Grant
    The role of interpretive guides in tourism settings is multi-faceted and interpretive guides provide service across the globe in a very wide array of topics and settings. This includes providing free and fee based services at public institutions, museums, educational facilities, tourism attractions both indoors and outdoors. Unfortunately, the quality of service providers acting as guides is also highly variable and the economic opportunities for guides and the businesses that hire them are often hard to predictably capture. Even more difficult is blending the important meaningful interpretive messages that help guests understand and sustain the features they came to enjoy. Examples of interpretation and how to measure the interpreter’s impact will be presented. Also presented are perspectives on how agritourism operations are finding economic benefits in providing interpretive tours for both revenue and impact on the public understanding of rural cultures, agriculture and wildlife.
  • T3: Professional Development Program For Rural Tourism Business Owners/Operators
    Suzanne Ainley, Ph.D., Senior Consultant, The Ainley Group
    Rural tourism enterprises are predominantly owned and operated as small businesses, and often described as being run by lifestyle entrepreneurs. Convincing rural tourism entrepreneurs to find the time or money to invest into training has proven challenging. Further, it has been identified that skill gaps are crippling tourism product development and destinations. A collaborative project between Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDC) and the Regional Tourism Organization (RTO7) is in the process of creating a comprehensive training program designed for and by tourism entrepreneurs within Bruce, Grey and Simcoe Counties. T3 Accelerator intends to create a professional development model that pulls together existing curriculum along with potentially producing new courses that packaged together could be transferable to other regions in Ontario.
  • West Virginia Interpretive Guide Training (Download Presentation PDF)
    Doug Arbogast, Rural Tourism Specialist, West Virginia University Extension Service
    West Virginia University’s Extension Service partnered with the Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Resources Program and Adventure WV to develop the West Virginia Interpretive Guide Training program and Adventure Interpretation Center in 2017. The course is offered through a classroom workshop and online delivery of course content utilizing WVU Extension’s on-line learning site. The course is designed to introduce participants to the principles of interpretation and help them develop and deliver an interpretive talk. This presentation will provide participants with a general overview of the course and a sampling of the course content and delivery methods. Participants will leave the conference with a good understanding of the course objectives, delivery methods, and outcomes.


  • Art And Ag Trail: Crafting Collaboration & Community
    Holly George, Emeritus University of California Cooperative Extension
    Kristi Jamason, Rural Community Advocate, Plumas-Sierra Community Food Council

    The 2016 Sierra Valley Art & Ag Trail was a self-guided open house on local farms & ranches, hosting area artists and their work, as well as newly hung barn quilts that celebrate the heritage of this valley in rural northeastern California. The goal was to educate and to promote local agriculture, arts, history and beauty while creating economic development opportunities for area artists, agri-enterprises, restaurants and organizations. Dedicated volunteers took five months to build bridges, secure funds and deliver a successful event. A mobile-ready website was used to orient travelers to Trailheads, all event site/display locations, barn quilts, etc. The site featured an interactive story map with photos, links and digital stories about participating farms, ranches and artists. Fourteen locations featured 30 artists that received approximately 400 visitors, half from out of the area. Artists and organizations generated $18,500 in sales; 165 dinners were served with proceeds funding two scholarships.
  • First Impressions Program: An Examination Of State-To-State Diversity In The Application Of Tourism-Based Programming (Download Presentation PDF)
    Geoffrey Sewake, Community & Economic Development Field Specialist, University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension
    Doug Arbogast, Rural Tourism Specialist, West Virginia University Extension Service
    Lisa Chase, Natural Resources Specialist, University of Vermont Extension
    Cynthia Messer, Director & Extension Professor, University of Minnesota Tourism Center
    C. Andrew Northrop, Sustainable Tourism Extension Educator, Michigan State University Extension
    Laura Brown, University of Connecticut Extension
    Daniel Eades, West Virginia University Extension Service
    Casey Hancock, University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension
    Allison Nichols, West Virginia University Extension Service

    The First Impressions Program was developed in 1991 at the University of Wisconsin Extension. The program draws from traditional needs assessments, and asset-based community and economic development. It presents a dynamic and highly adaptable engagement technique that can build leadership skills and move a community to well considered action, and has been adapted successfully throughout North America. These adaptations highlight the dynamism of the First Impressions program, even within the confines of tourism, to adjust and meet the unique needs of various Extension programs and communities they serve. This presentation will provide participants with a general overview of First Impressions and a sampling of the programmatic diversity in implementation. Participants will leave the conference with a good understanding of the First Impressions Program, some of the tools needed to implement the program, and an open offer to join an ongoing national conversation in First Impressions Program development and evaluation.
  • Mapping Resident Place Attachment in the Downtown Core: Case Study of the “Where is Here?” Project
    Nicole Vaugeois, Vancouver Island University
    Downtown areas are increasingly turning to cultural mapping as a way to aid them in place-making. For tourism professionals, advances in deep cultural mapping practices present opportunities to more fully understand what residents and visitors value about places and to design experiences accordingly. This presentation will describe a case study to map place attachment in three small cities in Western Canada via a six-month media-mapping. One day “walk abouts” in each community were done to record 1.5 minute videos of residents speaking about a place in their downtown core where they felt connected to. The team mapped approximately 20 videos in each community (n=85) using consumer grade equipment. These videos were then uploaded to Arc GIS resulting in the first layer of a dynamic map for each community. The stories shared reveal deep and valuable narratives about place that have the potential for place promotion in other communities.


11:50-12:50pm: Plenary Session – Federal Partners

1:00-2:00pm: Lunch

2:00-2:30pm: Poster Session

2:45-3:45pm: [expand title=”Workshop 2 (Choice of two workshops; click to view details)“]


  • Strengthening Tourism Leadership: Facilitation Tools To Move Community-Driven Tourism Forward
    Andy Northrop, Regional Educator in Sustainable Tourism and Community Economic Development, State Tourism Leader, Greening MI Institute/Michigan State University Extension
    Implementing community-driven tourism initiatives can become complicated whether communities are already a tourist destination or just becoming one. Ensuring everyone’s ideas are heard and considered equally takes practice and skill. Community members can become frustrated due to lack of leadership and/or tools to chart a clear path to consensus. In fact, progress can seize entirely due to collaborators not knowing their next steps or how to prioritize them. This one-hour interactive workshop is for professionals working with communities to move tourism forward. The goal is to provide experiential grounding in leading groups for more effective and efficient meetings and working together in a positive way by exposing participants to a series of facilitation tools. During the workshop, participants will practice tools to reach consensus, encourage creativity, setting outcome-based goals for meetings, keeping a group focused, and creating action plans.


  • Building Partnerships To Promote The Recreation Economy In Forest Gateway Communities (Download Presentation PDF; Download USDA Rural Development Summary of Major Programs PDF)
    Toby Bloom, National Program Manager, Travel, Tourism, and Interpretation, USDA Forest Service
    Brent Elrod, National Program Leader, Community and Rural Development USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture
    Hiwot Gebremariam, Program Manager at USDA Rural Development, Rural Business and Cooperative Services, Community Economic Development Division

    Growing and maintaining a healthy recreation sector that benefits local residents over the long term requires balancing natural resource management, conservation efforts, infrastructure investment, business development, and many other factors. It also necessitates active stakeholder engagement, a robust understanding of potential challenges and opportunities, collaboration among various levels of government and landowners and a strong plan for the region’s future. These efforts present unparalleled economic opportunities—to revitalize Main Street, preserve cultural heritage, support entrepreneurship and small business growth, reinvest in communities, and more. USDA Forest Service and Rural Development are collaborating to target the recreation economies of rural Forest Gateway communities. The presentation will explore how Rural Development and Forest Service field staff will identify new candidates for small business loans and services to businesses that provide recreation opportunities or otherwise enhance the local recreation economy, improving quality of life for locals, and the level of services for visiting recreation enthusiasts.


4:00-5:00pm: Plenary Session – Action Planning for NET

6:30-8:30pm: Dinner and Closing Remarks

Past NET Conferences

For information from previous NET Conferences,  click here.

Comments from past conferences:

“Great programs with applied/case studies; networking to better share Extension programs/materials”
“Great Networking—learning what’s happening across America”
“Able to explore other work and learn from successful experiences/projects – Contacts with others”
“Better understanding research methods being used in tourism development”
“Helpful for finding people as resources for future needs; finding work that has already been done and shareable”
“The wide variety of topics covered and programs/models featured; each session had something that would be helpful regardless of your area of focus”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email