**Invitation to Cover**

AUGUSTA – Approximately 400 tourism industry members and stakeholders from across the state will gather at Maine’s annual tourism conference on April 4 for networking, professional development workshops and the sharing of best practices in support of one of Maine’s most vibrant industries.

Wednesday’s full conference day agenda includes a discussion on Workforce Development with Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) Commissioner George Gervais and Department of Labor (DOL) Commissioner John Butera; and a keynote by Kelly McDonald, one of the nation’s top experts in multicultural marketing and consumer trends. Targeted breakout sessions: Most Wanted Media: How to Capture the Attention of Editors and Writers; Extend Your Audience: Tapping into the Wellness Travel Market; and Extend Your Season: How to Bring Visitors Back in the “Off -Season” with On-Target Events will feature Maine business panels. The Office of Tourism Report will share results from the 2017 tourism marketing campaign and plans for 2018.

EMBARGOED UNTIL APRIL 4 — Five industry members will be recognized with Governor’s Conference on Tourism Awards. Recipients are: - Center for Maine Contemporary Art—Governor’s Award for Tourism Excellence - BikeMaine—Originality Award - Maine Grains, Inc. —Leadership & Growth Award - Pamela J. Laskey, Maine Foodie Tours—Innovation & Creativity Award - Sandy Pines Campground—Marketing & Promotion Award WHEN: Wednesday, April 4, 2018 WHERE: Holiday Inn by the Bay, Portland CHECK IN: On arrival, contact Jennifer Geiger at 207-592-2236 REMARKS:
Governor Paul R. LePage Commissioner George Gervais, Department of Economic and Community Development
Director Steve Lyons, Maine Office of Tourism KEYNOTE: Kelly McDonald—“Crafting the Customer Experience for People Not Like You”
SPEAKER SCHEDULE: 8:30 a.m.– 9 a.m.: Opening Remarks—Commissioner Gervais; Maine Poet Laureate Stuart Kestenbaum 9 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.: Office of Tourism Report and Campaign Overview—MOT Director Steve Lyons 9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.: Workforce Development—Moderated by DECD Commissioner George Gervais. Panelists: DOL Commissioner John Butera, MOT Director Steve Lyons, Nate Wildes of Live & Work in Maine, and Traverse Burnett of dpa/Digital Research Group. 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.: Awards Luncheon—Governor Paul R. LePage 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. – Keynote—Kelly McDonald The complete agenda is available at www.mainetourismconference.com

*Maine Governor's Conference on Tourism - April 4,2018*