Positioning Waterside Communities as Tourism Gateways to America’s Great Outdoors

January 19, 2011
2:15 – 3:45 PM Eastern
Hosted by The Horinko Group’s Water Division

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Growing international and domestic destination through water and nature based efforts.


Our nation’s natural water systems continue to emerge as iconic destinations for nature based and heritage tourism. These new tourism focused economies are helping water based cities and communities diversify their economic base while building a richer sense of place for residents. In many cases, tourism provides the financial safety net for communities losing their industrial/manufacturing ways of life.

This webinar highlights efforts currently underway to establish tourism centered on water-based destinations, as well as the potential economic impacts of such efforts. The panel explores the role that federal and state government can have to better assist local communities in marketing their waterside communities within a consolidated, regional approach.


  • Brett Stawar, President/CEO Alton Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau & Chairman of the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic BywayAs President/CEO for a destination marketing organization, Mr. Stawar leads the tourism promotional efforts for the greater Alton, Illinois 13 community service area, just north of St. Louis. In addition, he serves as Chairman for the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway organization, providing tourism development and promotion guidance for the confluence region of the Illinois, Missouri and Mississippi rivers and riverside communities. He brings more than 15 years of strategic planning and marketing communications experience, with a background working for public relations agencies and non-profit organizations.

Featured Speakers

  • Ron Erdmann, Deputy Director, U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Travel & Tourism IndustriesRon Erdmann is the Deputy Director at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Travel & Tourism Industries (OTTI). Mr. Erdmann is responsible for the oversight and improvement of the Office’s travel and tourism research programs. These programs provide key market intelligence on the volume and characteristics of travelers to and from the United States. He is also responsible for providing clients with technical assistance on how to effectively use research data for the development of international travel market decisions to increase exports.
  • Jan Kostner, Deputy Director of Tourism, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Illinois Office of TourismAs Deputy Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Tourism (IOT), Jan Kostner spearheads the state’s tourism industry marketing and development efforts, contributing to sustainable and significant economic and quality-of-life benefits for Illinois residents. Her direction has helped Illinois achieve outstanding state tourism visitation records and significant increases in state tax dollars, with nearly 89 million domestic visitors and more than 1.1 million international visitors spending more than $30 billion on transportation, lodging, food, entertainment, recreation and incidentals in 2008.

Join us to learn about:

    • Trends and forecasts for international visitation to the U.S.


    • Ways waterside or nature based tourism destinations and attractions can translate the international forecasts into effective tourism strategies.


    • How states and cities are developing nature based tourism and discussion of water recreation product and promotion.


  • The economic importance of tourism to communities, especially those with unique, safely accessible natural and heritage attractions.