Travel trends, international market among topics at Rural Roundup tourism conference

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Veteran travel journalist Doug Lansky, economist Dave Bratton and international protocol expert Marie Betts-Johnson are among the speakers set to address Nevada’s rural tourism industry at the Rural Roundup conference, April 13-15 in Laughlin. Also scheduled to address the group in a general session is Randy Morgan, an internationally recognized speaker on leadership and performance.

Rural Roundup is presented annually by the Nevada Division of Tourism (Travel Nevada). The conference is targeted to Nevada’s rural tourism industry, a small but growing part of the state’s overall tourism profile. Visitation to rural Nevada was 1.1 million in 2014, up from 996,333 in 2013 —an increase of 14 percent.

“We are impressed with the level of sophistication Nevada’s rural tourism professionals demonstrate when marketing the state’s lesser-known treasures to visitors,” Claudia Vecchio, Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs director, said. “Travel Nevada is honored to work with this elite group of tourism professionals and to offer this conference, which serves as an opportunity to collaborate and share ideas.”

This year’s speakers will present on a range of topics, from trends to measuring success to preparing for the growing international tourism market.

  • Doug Lansky, syndicated travel writer and author of 10 books, including two Lonely Planet guides, will share best practices he has gleaned from destinations around the world. 
  • Dave Bratton, an economist formerly with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau before founding Destination Analysts research company, will discuss current travel trends and how Nevada is viewed by the world. 
  • Marie Betts-Johnson, founder and director of the International Protocol Institute of California, will address how to strengthen business relationships by showing clients respect and a sincere desire to get to know who they are.
  • Randy Morgan, CEO of Red Shoe Solutions, a training, consulting and association management company, will speak on the importance of play and team spirit when striving for excellence in the workplace.

Rural Roundup also will include presentations on digital journalism, recruiting and keeping volunteers, partnership building and economic planning. New this year: the ‘Reelin’ on the River’ Film Festival, which will spotlight the top marketing videos developed by rural destinations. The annual VolunTourism Awards dinner, honoring the bright stars in Nevada’s rural tourism industry, will take place on April 14 at Rural Roundup.

Registration for the Rural Roundup is $65 through April 1, and $100 after. For the full agenda and information about conference speakers, visit To register, click here.

Transportation to Laughlin from Carson City via motor coach will be available. The cost is $100 per person, and includes round-trip transportation to and from Rural Roundup; lodging, dinner and breakfast in Beatty; and boxed lunches both ways. For more information on the motor coach and to reserve a spot on the motor coach tour, click here.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Travel Nevada welcomes media representatives to attend the conference. Please let us know if you would like to attend by contacting Angela Froelich at [email protected] or 775-687-0639.

The Nevada Division of Tourism is part of the Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs. More commonly knowns as Travel Nevada, it is responsible for promoting and marketing Nevada as a travel destination to domestic and international travelers. Operating within a performance-based budget structure, Travel Nevada is funded solely by a percentage of lodging tax paid by overnight guests throughout the state. For more, visit