Tourism Professionals Gather for Governor's Conference

ROCKPORT, Maine - More than 300 tourism and hospitality professionals gathered today at the Samoset Resort in Rockport for the 2007 Governor's Conference on Tourism.

The theme of the event was "Maine Tourism in the Modern World." Attendees heard a keynote address from travel researcher and media commentator Dr. Peter Yesawich, and took part in educational workshops, a tourism tradeshow, and the Maine Tourism Awards program.

"This year's conference was another great opportunity for people from all segments of Maine's tourism industry to share ideas and learn new strategies for improving their business," said Donna Fichtner, chair of the Maine Tourism Commission.

During a luncheon address, Governor John Baldacci thanked guests for making the conference one of the best-attended in recent years and noted that the attributes of a close knit tourism community help make it the state's largest industry. He also applauded business owners and organizations for adapting to changing trends in the industry and thinking creatively to help keep Maine a top destination for visitors from around the world.

A highlight of the afternoon was the Maine Tourism Awards ceremony. Fichtner presented the awards which honor individuals, businesses and organizations that have distinguished themselves through their work.

Award winners were: Don Kleiner, co-owner of Maine Outdoors, for Recreation Suppliers; the Sea Dog Brewing Co. and Restaurant of Bangor, for Food Service; 5 Lakes Lodge of Millinocket for Accommodations; the Bangor, Maine Troop Greeters for Public Service; the Farnsworth Art Museum for Arts/Culture and Heritage; Christmas Prelude for Attractions; York County Community Action and the Shoreline Explorer for Transportation; Dickinson's Candies for Retail; and Tina Hewett of the Nonantum Resort for the Governor's Award for Tourism Excellence.

Newly appointed Maine Office of Tourism Director Pat Eltman was impressed with the energy of the attendees and the quality of the conference speakers and presenters. "Maine's tourism operators really have spirit and drive," she said. "The conference was a great success, and I look forward to seeing the industry thrive in 2007."

During a morning keynote presentation, Dr. Yesawich discussed the implications for marketing Maine in the face of emerging lifestyles and travel trends. The Oddfellow Theater's Mike Miclon provided afternoon entertainment with a thrilling exhibition of juggling.

The Governor's Conference on Tourism is a project of the Maine Office of Tourism, the Maine Tourism Commission and numerous sponsors, including the major conference sponsor, Portland International Jetport. The 2008 Governor's Conference on Tourism will take place Tuesday, February 12 in Bangor.

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