Levy CFCC to hold free symposium on Nature-Based Tourism

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By The Staff

Central Florida Community College will explore the business of nature in a free symposium on Monday, Feb. 2 in Chiefland. Business owners and prospective entrepreneurs are invited to “Nature-Based Tourism and Your Business” from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the CFCC Levy Center, 114 Rogers Blvd., Chiefland.

Guest speakers will include: John Kiseda, 2008-2009 chairperson of the Society for Ethical Ecotourism in Southwest Florida, on “Understanding Nature-based Tourism,” Carol McQueen, executive director of the Levy County Visitor’s Bureau, on “Levy County’s Nature-Based Tourism Industry,” and Donna Creamer, executive director of Pure Water Wilderness, the Dixie, Gilchrist, Levy Tourist Development Board, on “Opportunities for Rural Tourism.”

Florida welcomed 84.5 million visitors in 2007, resulting in $65.5 billion in taxable sales revenue and employing nearly 1 million Floridians, according to VisitFlorida, the state’s official tourism marketing corporation.

“Nature-based tourism is one of the fastest-growing segments of the tourism industry,” said Kiseda.

Dr. Rayanne Giddis, director of the CFCC Levy Center, added: “We are pleased to offer this program so that community members can learn more about profiting from an increased number of visitors while being responsible stewards of our treasured natural resources. But the symposium also serves another purpose.

“The Levy Center, with the assistance of its ecotourism advisory committee, is exploring the desirability of developing a noncredit program of study that focuses on ecotourism and agritourism as careers and a source of jobs for residents of our community,” she said.

Light refreshments will be served at the symposium. For information or to reserve a seat call 352-493-9533, ext. 2106. For information about other CFCC events, visit www.CF.edu.