The 2013 World Freestyle Kayaking Championships being held in the Nantahala Gorge are still two years away, but planning must start now if the region wants to be ready in time.
The freestyle kayaking championship will bring thousands of international visitors to the region, as well as lots of international media coverage. The region will get a trial run of sorts in 2012 when the Junior World Cup Freestyle championship comes to the Gorge.
A forum for tourism-related businesses to talk about preparations for the major influx will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 24, at the Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center in Graham County.
Participants will learn what the event entails, how to participate as a tourism partner and how best to leverage the events to encourage tourists to return to the area.
Among the speakers will be Kelly Miller with the Asheville Chamber of Commerce to talk about the lessons he learned as 1996 Olympic Marketing Manager for the Atlanta Chamber; David and Betty Huskins will present the preliminary marketing plan for the events.