AgriLife Extension leads national group in forming Tourism Community of Practice

National Extension tourism conference set for Aug. 6-9 in Detroit

COLLEGE STATION — The eXtension Foundation, a nonprofit entity supporting Internet-based education and full-time access to objective, science-based information from land-grant university  experts and others, has accepted a proposal to form an official Tourism Community of Practice.

“The community of practice will include information and expertise from individuals, organizations and academic institutions on the tourism industry,” said Miles Phillips, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service tourism specialist in the recreation, park and tourism sciences department, Texas A&M University, College Station.

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The Tourism Community of Practice will be among items discussed at the 2013 National Extension Tourism Conference Aug. 6-9 in Detroit. (Texas AgriLife Extension Service photo by Miles Phillips)

Phillips led a team of professionals from Extension agencies of land-grant universities throughout the U.S. in developing the proposal.

AgriLife Extension will be the ‘institutional home’ of the Tourism Community of Practice,” said Phillips, who is also a state program leader for nature tourism. “This will provide new opportunities to secure funding.”

“We are pleased that we have been accepted to develop our Extension tourism working group into an official Tourism Community of Practice.”

The upcoming 2013 National Extension Tourism Conference slated for Aug. 6-9 in Detroit will include a session to learn more about communities of practice and provide input for the new Tourism Community of Practice.

This year’s conference will be held at the DoubleTree Suites Detroit, Downtown-Ft. Shelby.  The theme of the 2013 conference is “Tourism – Building Lasting Relationships,” and the keynote speaker will be Ted-Lee Eubanks, founder and president of Fermata Inc. Additional speakers will include George Zimmermann, vice president of Travel Michigan, James M. Falk, associate director of Delaware Sea Grant, and Craig Wood of the Extension Foundation.

Topic areas to be addressed at the conference include: tourism in resilient communities; community and regional planning and development; the economic, environmental and social impact of tourism and recreation; agritourism; heritage and cultural tourism; nature-based tourism; marketing and promotion; research and evaluation; and education, training and certification.

The conference will also include workshops and panels on the economic, environmental and social impacts of tourism and recreation, as well as agritourism, and heritage and cultural tourism.

“AgriLife Extension program specialist Stephen Brueggerhoff has taken a role in marketing the 2013 conference and both Stephen and I will be presenting at the conference as well,” Phillips said.

He added that a proposal to host the 2015 National Extension Tourism Conference in Texas is currently being evaluated and the proposed site selection is expected to be announced at the Detroit conference.

“We welcome you to come to the conference and join fellow Extension professionals, university research and teaching faculty, students, tourism professionals and community officials to renew relationships, renew old contacts and learn more about new developments in tourism,” Phillips said.

More information on the conference can be found at

Prices for conference registration vary based on double early bird, early bird and standard registration for professionals, students and spouses. To register for the conference, go to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Conference Services website at  and enter the word “tourism” into the keyword search field.

For more information on nature tourism development in conjunction with AgriLife Extension, go to:

For general information about the conference, contact Michelle Walk, Michigan State University Extension, 906-635-6368 or


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