In anticipation of National Travel and Tourism Week on May 5-11, the Galveston Park Board and the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) will host its fifth annual Tourism Summit on May 2. Anyone who works in the tourism industry in Galveston or is interested in learning more about it is invited to attend.

The free event is expected to draw more than 400 attendees for a full day of professional development workshops, speakers and panel discussions and will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Galveston Island Convention Center at 5600 Seawall Blvd. Bob Ford, Galveston native and voice of the Houston Astros, will be the event’s master of ceremonies. Keynote speakers include Ron Klinger of Motivational Transitions, and Jim Petrick, a professor of recreation parks and tourism sciences at Texas A&M.

New this year is an expanded vendor area that will be in the Expo Hall. Here, representatives from tourism-related businesses, from short-term rentals to attractions, will be on hand to educate participants about what they do. All participants will also receive a resource guide outlining major special events taking place in Galveston, contact information for local officials and more.

Educational breakout sessions will take place throughout the day. Topics include social media marketing, customer service, sales, partnering with the CVB to maximize exposure, short-term rentals and hotel occupancy tax collection. In addition, participants can learn about the impact arts and cultural activities have on the island during a panel discussion.

Park Board Executive Director Kelly de Schaun will unveil the 2018 Galveston Tourism Impact Study. The study will reveal the number of people who visited the island last year and how they impacted the local job force, tax rolls and more.

At the end of the day, participants can network and enjoy refreshments (including margaritas!) and will have the chance to win raffle prizes.

“The fact that this event is now in its fifth year, speaks volumes to its relevancy to the island’s tourism industry,” de Schaun said. “This event is designed to remind everyone in the tourism industry how important their contributions are to Galveston’s overall economy and it allows the CVB to show our partners that we are here to serve as a resource for their success.”

Tourism summit participants can choose to spend the whole day, half day or join the event just for lunch. For more information, visit www.galvestonsummit.com.

Park board meetings are typically held at 1:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 601 23rd St.

Mary Beth Bassett is the public relations coordinator for the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Park Board of Trustees.

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