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Tourism group seeks innovative ideas
September 03, 2015 Jerry Purvis   

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Twin Cities Development is looking for some creative minds up to taking the Tourism Innovators Challenge.

Samantha Rottinghaus, coordinator of special projects with TCD, said the challenge is an opportunity for people to present their good tourism ideas to a panel of judges representing tourism agencies in the area. Winning ideas could receive funds to turn those ideas into reality.

“We’ll be scheduling time for a one-on-one pitch for people to share their idea,” Rottinghaus said. “Contestants should formulate about a 10-minute presentation. Judges will deliberate and pick a winner from all the presentations.”

Ideas don’t have to be for year-round events or venues, like the bed and breakfast community. They can be annual events, typically those held during warm months – horseback riding in the Wildcat Hills or around the Scotts Bluff National Monument, for example. Or, canoeing down the North Platte River. These types of ideas can draw both locals and visitors from outside the community.

“We want ideas that will attract all ages of people,” she said. “We’re looking for something that would be good for the community and also attract attention from around the region.”

Presentations are scheduled for Sept. 10, and submissions will be received until then. Entries need to have a clear description of the tourism idea, including big-picture goals, and how it’s different from other competitors. Presenters should also articulate an effective marketing plan, along with financial projections, and how to best communicate and promote the event to the general public.

Rottinghaus said the challenge originated with the Old West Balloon Fest, and how the colorful spectacle has been successful in drawing visitors. “After talking with people in the tourism industry, we wanted to put together something that would reinvigorate tourism in the area,” she said. “So we’re reaching out to the (people) who might have some really good ideas for events we could promote.”

She added the winning presentation is more than just about the check. It’s about connecting the people with ideas to the community’s great business development resources. “Those resources are there to help people with good ideas, but many people don’t realize what’s available to them,” Rottinghaus said. “That’s the goal of this challenge, to connect those two groups of people together.”

Rottinghaus emphasized the idea doesn’t have to be fully formed in any sense. It can be a vision that needs direction to become reality. TCD is ready to help make those connections.

For more information, contact TCD at 308-632-2833.
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