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Tourism pro plans county study

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By Vince Luecke

State commission offers to foot first $5,000 of 2008 assessment

TELL CITY - Perry County's convention and visitors bureau is one of 11 in the state chosen to participate in a community-assessment program designed to boost local tourism and economic development.

Scheduled for 2008, the review will gather input from community leaders, tourism-related businesses and elected officials, said Bev Minto, executive director of the Perry County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Roger Brooks, a nationally known tourism pro, will coordinate the effort and present a summary of his findings and recommendations.

The Indiana Office of Tourism Development is partnering with the Association of Indiana Convention and Visitors Bureaus on the project and is footing $5,000 of the cost for each of the 11 counties. The county's CVB will pay the balance, not to exceed $10,000, Minto said.

CVB board members approved the expenditure at their meeting Dec. 4.

"This seems like a great opportunity for us to look at what we can do to promote our county," Minto said, saying the study was a logical step to follow the county's adoption of a common brand.

The slogan "Perry County Indiana: Life is Better," was unveiled in late October and came from a partnership of the Perry County Development Corp. and the county's chamber of commerce and visitors bureau.

Data-gathering will take place April through November of 2008 and will be led by Brooks, a founding member of Seattle-based Destination Development.

Called the "Dr. Phil of Tourism," Brooks will take a visitor's view of the county and will offer his perspective on opportunities and challenges the community faces.

"Roger Brooks will provide a wealth of knowledge and ideas on how Indiana can create new avenues for tourism," Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman said in a press release announcing the grants. "This program offers a unique opportunity for communities to learn ways to increase tourism marketing and achieve future economic success."

CVBs in Orange, Madison, Hendricks, Kosciusko, Lafayette-West Lafayette, Marion, Porter, Shipshewana-LaGrange County, Switzerland and Vincennes-Knox County were also chosen to participate.

For more information on the program or to offer comments during the assessment in 2008, contact Minto at 547-7933.