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2024 Agenda 

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

NOON - 1:30PM: STAKEHOLDER ROUNDTABLE SESSION, HOLIDAY INN BY THE BAY

Help determine what’s next for Maine tourism! With the Maine Stewardship Principles as our guide, please join us for a working session designed to define priorities, make strategic choices and identify collaborative next steps toward a thriving Maine tourism industry.

2:00PM - 3:00PM: WORKSHOPS, HOLIDAY INN BY THE BAY  (select one)

Building an Inclusive Workforce - Colby Marvin Bracy, The Nonantum Resort

Learn how The Nonantum Resort employment program has broadened their approach to workforce development by integrating opportunities for people with prior involvement with Maine’s justice system and providing a supportive structure for these employees. This workshop will share insights gained and practical advice for exploring the potential of a similar approach to hiring staff for your own business.

Efficiency Maine Hospitality-Focused Grants - Rick Meinking, Efficiency Maine

The Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan allocated federal funds to assist Maine travel and hospitality businesses in converting heating systems to more energy efficient systems. Efficiency Maine's launch of Round 2 of the grants is in March with $1.8 million in funding available with rolling applications. According to a 2023 Yougov.com survey, less than 25% of travelers believe hotels are doing enough to minimize their environmental impact. Learn how to apply for funding to upgrade your water and heating systems at your lodging or food establishment, and save money on energy costs while elevating your ability to attract travelers looking for sustainable options. (2023 case study: Glenmore by the Sea)

Outdoor Recreation Economy Roadmap - Fourth Economy

What’s your favorite outdoor experience in Maine? What current outdoor recreation programs or initiatives are working well? How do you think we can supercharge the outdoor sector in Maine? Learn about the building process for mapping Maine’s path to a resilient outdoor recreation economy and share your input.

Advanced SEO for DMOs and Small Business - Brennan Bliss, Propellic

In a digital world where search engine visibility is paramount and the goal post is constantly moving, DMOs and CVBs face the challenge of navigating through complex SEO strategies. This session offers a clear, structured approach to mastering SEO, ensuring optimal use of marketing resources for maximum visibility. Key takeaways include: - Optimal SEO Techniques - Traveler Conversion through SEO - Google's Search Evolution - Common SEO Mistakes & Opportunities

3:30PM - 5:00PM: SELF GUIDED CREATIVE PORTLAND ART WALK

In 2024, Creative Portland celebrates their 15th Anniversary of promoting and nurturing Portland's artistic talents and cultural assets. Download the Creative Portland app for a curated self-guided tour drawn from Portland’s First Friday Art Walk monthly series. Stop off at Creative Portland's art gallery, 84 Free Street, to pick up a hard copy of the art walk's digital map. Learn more...

5:30PM - 7:00PM: WELCOME RECEPTION AT MAINE CRAFT DISTILLING

Help us kick of the 2024 Governor’s Conference on Tourism with an evening of great drinks and snacks at the East Bayside neighborhood’s Maine Craft Distilling, where Farm-to-Flask Distilling isn't a slogan, it’s their operating principle. Try one of their hand-crafted canned cocktails on us, or step up to the bar and treat yourself to one of their master mixologists’ original recipes.

 

Shuttles will be running continuously between the Holiday Inn by the Bay and Maine Craft Distilling, from 5:15 - 7:30pm. Meet in the lobby of the Holiday Inn by the Bay to catch the shuttle.

 

If you choose to drive yourself, Maine Craft Distilling is located at 123 Washington Avenue in Portland. Parking is limited at the venue but street parking is available, potentially for a fee.

 

Sponsored by:

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Thursday, April 25, 2024

7:30AM - 8:15AM: BREAKFAST WITH EXHIBITORS

Start the day with a fresh, hot breakfast downstairs in the Casco Bay Hall and meet with exhibitors, sponsors and Maine’s Tourism Regions. Sponsored by:

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8:15AM - 9:30AM: WELCOME & MAINE OFFICE OF TOURISM REPORT

Join us for an update on MOT’s core program activities and stay engaged with how the state supports the success of the tourism industry in Maine.

9:30AM - 10:15AM: COFFEE BREAK WITH EXHIBITORS & TOURISM REGIONS

Sponsored by:

9:30AM - 11:15AM: EFFICIENCY MAINE GRANT COACHING

Drop in to talk with Efficiency Maine staff about how you can apply for Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan grant funds allocated to assist Maine hospitality businesses in converting to more energy efficient heating and water systems.

10:30AM - 11:15AM: BREAKOUT SESSION ONE (sessions will repeat in the afternoon)

“Feast of the Earth” Food-Tourism Initiative

The Maine Office of Tourism’s brand-refresh process identified Maine’s food assets as one of four key marketing pillars for promoting tourism in the state. Learn about this popular travel trend, MOT’s plans for promoting food tourism and agritourism in Maine, and how the industry can get involved. Moderated by Charlene Williams, Marshall Communications. Panelists include: Mindy Fox, Mindy Fox Public Relations; Peter Jon Lindberg; Zoe Croft, Director of Sales, Atlantic Sea Farms; Tristan Noyes, Executive Director, Maine Grain Alliance

Sustainable Tourism - Telling Our Story

Storytelling is a powerful and important tool in communicating and building engagement with sustainable travel and stewardship-focused tourism goals. This session will explore how video and film can help tell the story of your destination in a way that supports destination stewardship to attract your ideal visitor. Presented by Erika Piik, GLP Films

Revolutionizing Maine Tourism: Generative AI’s Impacts in Talent Acquisition

Discover the transformative power of Generative Artificial Intelligence (GAI) and how it is expected to impact Maine's Tourism landscape. This insightful session delves into the groundbreaking impact of GAI on the industry and shares innovative strategies to enhance recruitment processes. Join us to explore practical applications of this cutting-edge technology, tailored to meet the unique challenges and opportunities within Maine's vibrant tourism sector. Presented by Matthew Burzon, The Source and Recruit Company

Wabanaki Cultural Tourism Initiative

Four Directions has completed a strategic plan for developing and marketing native tourism experiences and products for travelers to Maine. Learn about the next steps for this important cultural initiative. -Moderator, Ernest Neptune, Vice Chief of the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point. Panelists include: Charlene Virgilio, Executive Director, Four Directions Development Corporation; Sherry Rupert, Executive Director, AIANTA

11:30AM - 12:15PM: KEYNOTE SPEAKER DANNY GUERRERO, CEO/FOUNDER, THE CULTURIST GROUP

 

Doubling Down on Belonging: Why Multicultural Travel Marketing is Mainstream Marketing

The traveling public is more multicultural, inclusive, and intersectional than ever before. What does this mean for tourism in Maine and how can Maine’s tourism industry establish a sense of belonging and welcome with these diverse visitors? Multicultural travel research, including the newly-released Future of Travel study, will shed light on the growing perceptions and influences guiding multicultural traveler preferences and will provide the audience with concrete and tangible takeaways to future-proof Maine's visitor economy. Learn more...

 

Sponsored by:

12:15PM - 1:30PM: TOURISM AWARDS LUNCHEON

Join us to celebrate this year's Governor's Conference on Tourism Award winners, honoring Innovation & Creativity, Leadership & Growth, Stewardship, WelcomeME and the Governor’s Award for Tourism Excellence. Sponsored by:

1:30PM - 2:15PM: DESSERT BREAK WITH EXHIBITORS & TOURISM REGIONS

Sponsored by:

1:30PM - 3:00PM: EFFICIENCY MAINE GRANT COACHING

Drop in to talk with Efficiency Maine staff about how you can apply for Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan grant funds allocated to assist Maine hospitality businesses in converting to more energy efficient heating and water systems.

2:15PM - 3:00PM: BREAKOUT SESSION TWO (repeated from the morning)

“Feast of the Earth” Food-Tourism Initiative

The Maine Office of Tourism’s brand-refresh process identified Maine’s food assets as one of four key marketing pillars for promoting tourism in the state. Learn about this popular travel trend, MOT’s plans for promoting food tourism and agritourism in Maine, and how the industry can get involved. Moderated by Charlene Williams, Marshall Communications. Panelists include: Mindy Fox, Mindy Fox Public Relations; Peter Jon Lindberg; Zoe Croft, Director of Sales, Atlantic Sea Farms; Tristan Noyes, Executive Director, Maine Grain Alliance

Sustainable Tourism - Telling Our Story

Storytelling is a powerful and important tool in communicating and building engagement with sustainable travel and stewardship-focused tourism goals. This session will explore how video and film can help tell the story of your destination in a way that supports destination stewardship to attract your ideal visitor. Presented by Erika Piik, GLP Films

Revolutionizing Maine Tourism: Generative AI’s Impacts in Talent Acquisition

Discover the transformative power of Generative Artificial Intelligence (GAI) and how it is expected to impact Maine's Tourism landscape. This insightful session delves into the groundbreaking impact of GAI on the industry and shares innovative strategies to enhance recruitment processes. Join us to explore practical applications of this cutting-edge technology, tailored to meet the unique challenges and opportunities within Maine's vibrant tourism sector. Presented by Matthew Burzon, The Source and Recruit Company

Wabanaki Cultural Tourism Initiative

Four Directions has completed a strategic plan for developing and marketing native tourism experiences and products for travelers to Maine. Learn about the next steps for this important cultural initiative. Panelists include: Charlene Virgilio, Executive Director, Four Directions Development Corporation; Sherry Rupert, Executive Director, AIANTA

3:00PM: CONFERENCE CONCLUDES

Don't forget to grab a sweet treat at registration for the ride home!

Breakout sessions are sponsored by:

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