Experience-Based Economies: Leveraging Cultural Heritage, Local Innovation, and Natural Assets to Promote Tourism

Track Leader: Emily Breedlove

With the growing popularity of the local economies movement, rural communities are learning to harness their own unique stories and authentic character in order to revolutionize the ways they engage visitors. As travelers evolve to demand more from vacations, communities are faced with the challenge of strategically setting themselves apart to attract more consistent tourism dollars. By expanding the ‘local experience’ beyond Main Street, small towns are finding widespread appeal within their often unseen cultural heritage, side-street entrepreneurial innovators, and underutilized ecological resources. Collaboration and creativity has never benefited communities as much as it does right now, with the emergence of the highly lucrative and effective ‘Experience-Based Economies Movement.’

Who Should Attend?.

Those interested in growing their local economy through a more authentic take on tourism, entrepreneurship, cultural heritage, and the environment. Perfect for Chambers of Commerce, Tourism Development Authorities, Small Business Directors, Entrepreneurs, Elected Officials, and more.

What Can I Expect to Learn?

  • Case Studies from communities who are effectively managing an “Experience-Based Economy”
  • Models for how to start tackling an initiative like this
  • Facilitated brainstorming to better identify where the opportunity exists in your own community
  • Tools, Tips and Resources to empower and equip attendees after the session

Track Capacity: 25

Emily Breedlove, Innovative Economies

Having spent the past 15 years working in regional economic and community development, Emily has been fortunate enough to have experienced this space from both the entrepreneurial approach and the resource provider perspective. She is a founding partner of Innovative Economies, a consulting firm committed to growing rural innovation and entrepreneurial opportunity. Emily is currently working with programs such as the SBA funded ScaleUp America program, the Certified Entrepreneurial Communities® Program, and is the host of the annual Mompreneur Gathering and Authentic Communities Summit in Asheville, North Carolina.  Emily is a certified trainer in the REAL (Rural Entrepreneurship through Action Learning) Curriculum and serves as the Board Treasurer for The Sequoyah Fund, the Community Development Financial Institution for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.