The Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau is teaming up with Start Up Alleghenies to hold a two-day event in Everett to help entrepreneurs learn about possible opportunities in the outdoor destination industry.

The event, the 2022 Explore! Entrepreneurial Summit will be held at River Mountain Sunday, May 15, and Monday, May 16.

Matt Price, executive director of the Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau, explained why they are teaming up to hold this event with Start Up Alleghenies.

“One part of our strategic plan for the bureau is to engage in tourism development activities with things like new trails, river access points, but it’s not necessarily business development related,” he said. “But, another part is to encourage the recreation and tourism industry in the county.”

Price said they were inspired by the agritourism summit that Huntingdon County Business & Industry held in March 2020.

“We liked that model, and we were seeing some needs in outdoor recreation, but in general, we wanted to serve the unique tourism market we have,” he said.

After discussions over the past couple of years with HCBI, it was suggested they possibility work with Start Up Alleghenies, as their goal is to bring entrepreneurs together for networking opportunities.

“We spoke with the coaches and coordinators and shared the idea we had for outdoor recreation,” said Price. “They took the ball and ran with it. It’s a good fit for our entrepreneurship celebration and conference.

The keynote speaker for the summit, Joe Vaneto, is the chief experience officer at Vaneto Collaboratory. He’ll hold two presentations, including one called, “Engineering Unforgettable Outdoor Adventure Experiences,” and “Startup: Building an Outdoor Recreation Business.”

“He’s done quite a bit nationally and internationally in destination development,” said Price. “He’s well known in our industry to develop unique and value-added experiences for visitors.”

Price said entrepreneurs who attend hope to gain knowledge of how the destination and recreation industry can be a great fit for those who have specific ideas related to it, or if they have an idea that’s not directly related, but can be benefitted from the tourism industry.

“It’s not necessarily all outdoor recreation,” he said. “It can be in support of visitation. Just because someone may not be a hiker, a bicyclists or a hard-core paddler or boater, they may have an idea that’s fit for a conference like this. This conference will provide tools for any entrepreneur to get started, but it will be focused around the idea of recreation.”

This other partners for this event include Explore Altoona, Bedford County Development Association and the Pennsylvania Partnership for Regional Economic Performance.

Kylie can be reached at khawn@huntingdondailynews.com.

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