A regional conference focusing on enhancing current tourism resources and creating new ones in rural areas will be held Aug. 11-13 at the Paragon Casino Resort in Marksville, La.

Hosted by the LSU AgCenter and Mississippi State University Cooperative Extension, the 2009 Miss-Lou Regional Tourism Summit will bring together tourism professionals and others from throughout the two-state region, said Cynthia Pilcher, an LSU AgCenter community economic development agent.

The targeted region consists of 16 Louisiana parishes and 17 Mississippi counties located along the Mississippi River or near the states’ borders.

The conference theme, “Gateways to Get-A-Ways: Preserving the Past, Preparing for the Future,” will provide community and tourism leaders with skills needed to identify resources, create attractions and market rural tourism in the region, Pilcher said.

The program will include sessions on grant and trail development, risk management, creating successful festivals, e-commerce and social marketing.

Registration forms are available on the Internet at http://srdc.msstate.edu/misslou/.