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Conference Addresses Agri-Cultural Tourism

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PIERRE, S.D. – A conference designed to foster markets for artists and specialty producers in South Dakota by developing and enhancing agri-cultural tourism networks is set for Oct. 25-26 at Cedar Shore Resort in Oacoma. “Agri-Cultural Tourism, Art and the Land” will cover topics such as identifying a customer base, networking, building sustainable niche markets and promoting rural community cultural experiences and products. South Dakota offers a broad spectrum of rural community culture provided by artists and artisans, family-owned farms and ranches, museums, galleries, specialty shops and cultural events. The vision of the conference is to bring specialty producers and artists together to create a critical mass of unique activities, events, sites, attractions and products to draw potential visitors to their areas. “This conference presents a unique opportunity for farmers and ranchers, specialty producers and artists to learn how they can benefit from the visitor industry,” said James D. Hagen, secretary of the Department of Tourism and State Development. “These groups will learn the importance of partnering to promote their areas and offering unique experiences for visitors all while enhancing local economies. These partnerships will be key to the growth of cultural, heritage and agri-tourism in South Dakota.” Speakers include Larry Swain, operator of Swain and Associates; South Dakota Public Television host Richard Muller; Lawrence J. Diggs, founder of Vinegar Connoisseurs International and the International Vinegar Museum; Michael Holton, director of the Center for Rural Affairs and James D. Hagen, secretary of the Department of Tourism and State Development. Contact Lynn Verschoor of the South Dakota Art Museum at (605) 688-5423 or to register. The South Dakota Department of Tourism and State Development is a sponsor of the conference. The department targets niche audiences and educates industry partners about what visitors want and expect. The conference fits under the goals of the 2010 Initiative, which includes doubling visitor spending to $1.2 billion by 2010.