Steamboat Springs Americans' travel habits are evolving quickly, and local business leaders will spend Thursday evening and all day Friday learning how they can adjust to the prevailing trends.
The Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association hosts Economic Summit 2001 Thursday and Friday at the Steamboat Grand Resort and Conference Center.
The summit is billed as an opportunity for "Taking stock in your community: Preparing for a changing economy."
Guest speakers for the conference include University of Nevada-Las Vegas history professor Hal K. Rothman. He is the author of a provocative book "Devil's Bargains: Tourism in the Twentieth Century American West" about the evolution of tourism in the West and its impact on small communities.
Rothman said of all the western tourist towns, Steamboat has been among the most successful in terms of retaining its identity while tourism has grown around it. He is expected to talk, beginning at 7:45 p.m. Thursday, about ways Steamboat can re-evaluate its assets to be ready for changes in American tourism.
Friday morning, at 8:30 a.m., speaker Dennis Marzella will talk about national trends that will affect tourism in the Yampa Valley. He is a top executive with an Orlando, Fla.-based company, Yesawich, Pepperdine and Brown, with a focus on marketing mountain travel.
Chamber Executive Director Sandy Evans-Hall said Marzella will talk about travel trends that will require Steamboat and the businesses within it, to adapt in the years ahead.
Among those changes are a distinct trend toward shorter vacations. Mountain travelers are also looking for adventure and activities beyond skiing to entertain them.
"We believe our members need to hear this because they need to get behind those trends," she added.
The cost of the conference is $35 and includes lunch. Registration is available by calling 879-0882, or visiting www.steamboat-chamber.com/es2001.