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Tourism coalition gaining support

| February 3, 2005 11:00 PM

The Lincoln County Commissioners are the latest to sign on to a plan to create a countywide tourism coalition.

The commissioners voted on Tuesday to support the project following a presentation by organizer Debi Davidson of the Kootenai River Development Council. Other organizations and businesses that have joined the coalition include the Igniters Car Club, the Caboose Motel, the Heritage Museum, the Libby Area Chamber of Commerce, Koocanusa Resort and Marina, the Healthy Communities Initiative, St. John¹s Lutheran Hospital, the Kootenai Heritage Council and the Lincoln County Port Authority.

Davidson said her presentations on the coalition have met with enthusiasm from the groups to which they were given.

³Everybody thought it was an awesome idea and they have signed on to support the project,² she said.

The coalition¹s goals include:

• Increasing awareness and educating the public about the value of tourism in Lincoln County.

• Providing better internal communications for the travel and tourism industry in the county.

• Organizing and developing tourism under a unified theme including gateway, wayfinding and interpretive signs with common design elements.

• Promoting the county as a tourist destination through joint marketing and partnerships to package and promote events.

• Providing better communication within the travel industry in Montana through Travel Montana and the Glacier Country Tourism Commission.

• Developing partnerships along travel corridors with northern Idaho, Sanders and Flathead counties and Canada.

• Developing and promoting regional themes and events such as the David Thompson bicentennial.

• Providing skills development for people in public interaction and customer service jobs in the tourism sector.

Davidson plans to continue meeting with entities around the county, including the city councils in Libby, Troy and Eureka, the U.S. Forest Service and Army Corps of Engineers and various private and non-profit groups to bring them into the coalition. Plans are for the coalition to be governed by a five- to seven-member board, which would make decisions based on input from members.

An organizational meeting to establish the governing board is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 24, in the Ponderosa Room at Libby City Hall.