Hank Hayes • Nov 3, 2007 at 12:00 AM

Developing heritage tourism strategies across Northeast Tennessee will be the focus of a first-ever First Congressional District History, Heritage and Tourism Summit to be hosted by U.S. Rep. David Davis at Tusculum College on Nov. 29.

The Johnson City Republican said he is expecting up to 200 people to hear experts talk about how to grow heritage tourism dollars.

“One thing that I find is if I am in Sullivan County, people don’t know a lot about history in Carter County,” Davis said. “Or if I’m in Carter County, they don’t know a lot about the history in Washington or Greene County. I want to bring people from all 12 counties together and let them interact.

“When people come in and visit one county, they may spend half a day and then leave the region and go somewhere else. I would like people to visit, and if they go to Sullivan County, they may go over to Gray and visit the fossil site or go over to Carter County and learn about the Overmountain Men. Or they could go to Greene County and learn about Civil War battles. People in the region need to learn more about the total region — not just about what’s going on in their own county.”

Speakers will include sustainable tourism expert Cheryl Hargrove and Carroll Van West, director of the Center for Historic Preservation at Middle Tennessee State University.

A spokesman from the National Park Service also is expected to talk about what it takes for a region to establish a “National Heritage Area” — a region where tourism conservation and other activities are managed by partnerships among federal, state and local governments and the private sector. Tennessee, for instance, is home to a National Heritage Area featuring four Civil War national battlefield parks and the home of President Andrew Johnson in Greeneville.

The summit will be held at Tusculum College in the Chalmers Conference Center in the Niswonger Commons Building from 8:30 a.m. until noon. A breakfast will kick off the event at 8 a.m.

For more information, call 323-1235.

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