The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, in partnership with the Cultural Heritage Alliance for Tourism, Inc. (CHAT), presents the inaugural 2018 Synergy Summit for Cultural & Heritage Tourism, taking place May 16-18, 2018, at the Renaissance Fort Lauderdale-Plantation Hotel. The two-day conference, which is the first of its kind in Florida, was created to broaden inclusion, opportunity and engagement of small businesses, local attractions, tour operators and tour guides in Florida’s tourism ecosystem. More than 200 attendees are expected to gather to communicate and explore synergies for collaboration as well as form strategic partnerships that strengthen and elevate multicultural tourism in Florida and nationally.
“This is an ideal time to present the Cultural & Heritage Tourism Summit as a way to help small businesses understand what tourism is all about and the tremendous financial benefits that it can drive into their businesses as well as creating jobs for locals,” said Albert Tucker, Vice President, Multicultural Business Development, Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We are excited about partnering with CHAT to present this unique platform that will bring together tourism professionals with small businesses and attractions to explore business development opportunities within the tourism industry.”
The conference kicks off with a symposium titled, “The Heart of Heritage Neighborhoods,” at Old Dillard Museum on Wednesday, May 16. The pre-summit symposium will feature a diverse panel of leaders of cultural & historical organizations discussing the historical and economic impact of tourism for heritage communities and historic sites. A book signing featuring the historians will follow the discussion, which will be live streamed on www.sunny.org/tv. Following the symposium, tourism professionals will participate in Cultural & Heritage Familiarization Tours showcasing the community assets of the cities of Oakland Park and Miramar.
“Last year, Florida had a record breaking year of tourists who visited our beautiful state. However, research shows that tourists stay longer and spend more money in a destination to have off the beaten path experiences that immerses them in the rich culture and history found in our heritage neighborhoods and multicultural communities. The Summit will create opportunities to broaden engagement and inclusion of small businesses, local attractions, artists and community tour guides to further strengthen and diversify Florida’s tourism ecosystem,” says Stephanie M. Jones, President, Cultural Heritage Alliance for Tourism, Inc.
Eugene Franklin, Director of the National Cultural Heritage Tourism Center, will address the importance of cultural heritage tourism in supporting economic development for small businesses in multicultural communities during the opening session on Thursday, May 17. This will be followed by the keynote address by Rosemary Rice McCormick, co-founder and President of the U.S. Cultural & Heritage Tourism Marketing Council and publisher of “The Cultural Traveler” guide. She will be discussing the national and global impact of cultural & heritage tourism, one of the fastest growing segments of the travel industry. Kelly Tortoriello, Vice President, Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, will moderate a panel on building relationships with key tourism and travel professionals and associations to drive tourists and tourism dollars to a business or attraction. Kenneth Lawson, President and CEO, VISIT FLORIDA, will host the Tourism Power Players Awards Luncheon, addressing attendees about the State of Tourism in Florida as well as acknowledging and honoring the best in tourism including CVBs, hotel concierges, DMCs, meeting planners, tour operators, artists, tour guides, travel agents, city/county Cultural Affairs agencies and tourism-related businesses.
Throughout the conference, attendees will have an opportunity to partake in informative knowledge sharing sessions hearing from tourism industry experts on a wide array of topics from marketing to multicultural audiences and changing stereotypes and perceptions about multicultural neighborhoods to drive more locals and visitors to these destinations to monetizing the creative arts to generate jobs and revenue and positioning yourself for success in the travel & tourism industry.