Ways to enhance tourism resources and create new ones in rural areas in Louisiana and Mississippi will be featured at the 2011 Miss-Lou Regional Tourism Summit Aug. 9-11 at the Jason Lingo Center in Oak Grove, La.

The summit will feature ways to enhance current tourism resources and create new ones, said Dora Ann Hatch, agritourism coordinator for the LSU AgCenter and one of the summit coordinators.

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

The summit will focus on regionalism, Hatch said. Speakers will address how to cluster and brand a region using culinary, agricultural and nature-based assets. Tours will include visits to Poverty Point in Epps, the Cotton Museum in Lake Providence and the Lamb Weston sweet potato processing plant in Delhi.

The speaker who will set the tone for the entire summit, “Clustering and Branding as a Region,” is Holly Young Beaumier, director of the Florence Convention and Visitors Bureau in Florence, S.C.

Ben Erwin, CEO and co-founder of Macon Ridge Foods in Bastrop, will emphasize taking advantage of regional agriculture to develop a value-added product.

Susan Roach, coordinator of technical writing at Louisiana Tech University, and Judith Bingham, director of the Delta Music Museum in Ferriday, will serve on a panel on historical and cultural tourism as a regional strategy.

The conference begins at 4 p.m.

Registration forms are available at http://srdc.msstate.edu/misslou/. Registration is $110 before July 15. Checks may be sent to the Miss-Lou Tourism Association, P.O. Box 2180, Natchez, MS 39121.