National Heritage Area to host tourism networking summit August 3

Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area will host tourism industry professionals to learn and connect with peers at their annual Tourism Summit on Thursday, August 3, at the Evergreen Heritage Center in Mt. Savage, Allegany County, Maryland.

This year’s summit will focus on improving visitor experience for sustainable tourism. Concurrent sessions will feature presentations on Maryland examples of best practices, tools, and examples for improving visitor experience.

There will also be networking opportunities and local tours of historic sites. This event is free to attend (lunch included) and is open to anyone interested or involved in the tourism, lodging, and hospitality industries: business owners, CVBs, local leaders and tourist attractions.

All in the Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area region are welcome to attend. Registration and agenda are available at

“This is our annual networking and educational event for anyone in our 18 county region that is interested in tourism, whether you’re involved with a tourist attraction like a museum or recreation destination, a CVB or visitor center, or one of our ‘frontline’ workers in the hospitality or service industry.

Our goal is for each attendee to walk away with some examples of successful programs and how-to knowledge they can apply to their own organization,” explained AFNHA Communications Manager Ben Duvall-Irwin.

The Keynote Address by Dr. Susan Williams of Concord University will discuss “Maximizing experience for sustainable tourism.”

Other session topics will include a tour of educational programs at Evergreen Heritage Center, Promotion at the State and Local Level, Trail Development from Proposal to Established Initiative, Maryland Heritage Areas, Accessibility, and more.

Highlands Creative Economy is a partnership between Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area and Eastern WV Community & Technical College. The Highlands Creative Economy program hosts a monthly networking meeting for tourism-related organizations, training events, workshops, and the annual Tourism Summit.

Meetings are held on the fourth Thursday of every month at 10 a.m. on Zoom.

Highlands Creative Economy is supported in part by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and the National Park Service. Learn more at

The Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area conserves, interprets, and promotes forest heritage to enhance landscapes and communities in the highlands of West Virginia and Maryland.