The Star-Herald

County hospitality on tap at tourism conference

CARIBOU, Maine — All things tourism will be on the table at an upcoming 2018 Aroostook County Tourism Conference.

The event, sponsored by Aroostook County Tourism (ACT) and Northern Maine Development Commission (NMDC), is set for Thursday, Oct. 25, at 8:30 a.m. at the Caribou Inn and Convention Center.

At the event the current state of hospitality and tourism in The County will be discussed, why tourism impacts the bottom line for most businesses in the region, the importance of destination marketing and little- to no-cost ways to market a business.

Alain Ouellette, planning and development division director at NMDC, said in 2017, $155 million was spent by tourists coming to Aroostook County. Also, 2,752 jobs were supported by tourism in the region generating more than $53.3 million in total earnings.

“Times have never been better for expanding tourism to The County’s economic mix,” said Robert Clark, NMDC executive director. “Visitors have lost interest in cookie-cutter restaurants, lodging and attractions. Instead, they want local food, local attractions and connection to the lifestyles of local people.”

“I would hope anyone who is touched by tourism would attend this conference,” said Ouellette. “We have subject matter experts on the agenda and we have also built in time for networking.”

Lee Speronis, an associate professor and director of the School of Hospitality, Sport and Tourism Management at Husson University, will discuss the state of tourism in Maine.

Steve Dobson, an ACT board member and lodging owner, will present on small business and tourism.

Elizabeth Sutherland of Sutherland Weston, a public relations firm in Bangor, will have information on promoting your business.

Sheila Jans of CultureWorth will speak on the importance of cultural heritage promotion.

Donna Moreland of the Maine Office of Tourism will present the keynote address, which will highlight destination marketing.

The half-day conference includes a buffet-style lunch. Registration is $25.

Electronic registration is available at

ACT, a standing board of the Northern Maine Development Commission, is dedicated to improving the economy of northern Maine through its tourism efforts. Working under the brand Aroostook “The Crown of Maine”, ACT promotes some of the region’s greatest assets like its pristine beauty, diverse culture, storied history and wonderful hospitality to visitors from around the world. 

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