Travel Michigan’s David Lorenz to Speak at SE MI Heritage Tourism Networking Event

For Immediate Release

Travel Michigan’s David Lorenz to Speak at Southeast Michigan Heritage Tourism Networking Event

Conference Promotes Regional Collaboration to Market Local History and Rebuild Economy

Grosse Ile, MI – Thursday, February 17, 2010- Is southeast Michigan’s history an untapped resource? Can the region’s rich heritage be the key to its survival and economic revival?

SE MI Heritage Tourism Networking Event: Capitalizing On Our Local History

“Yes!” says Grosse Ile resident Karin Risko emphatically.  “Cities of all sizes worldwide have long enjoyed the economic impact of tourism dollars generated by promoting significant, and sometimes even insignificant, historic sites of interest.  In southeast Michigan, we’ve inherited a rich and diverse history. It’s time for us to capitalize on our story.”

Risko, the founder and director of Hometown History Tours, a Michigan-based tour company, is organizing the first local networking event to tackle this topic. The Southeast Michigan Heritage Tourism Networking Event: Capitalizing On Our Local History will be held on March 18, 2010 at the Stone Creek Banquet Center in Flat Rock from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM.

The event boasts an impressive roster of guest speakers including David Lorenz, manager of public and industry relations for Travel Michigan, the official State of Michigan tourism promotion agency.  His topic will be Cultural Tourism: Capitalizing on Nature, Culture and History.

Prior to this speaking engagement, Lorenz will travel to Berlin, Germany on behalf of Travel Michigan to tout Michigan’s vast tourism opportunities.

“David will provide event attendees with a fresh perspective on how we can lure European tourists to our part of town,” says Risko.

Other topics and featured speakers include:

  • Preston Tucker’s Lincoln Park Legacy presented by Leslie Lynch-Wilson, director of Lincoln Park Preservation Alliance.
  • The Descendant Speaks presented by Kimberly L. Simmons, president and executive director of the Quarlls Watkins Heritage Project.
  • Collaboration Benefits Businesses along the Original Urban Byway, Historic Woodward Avenue presented by Debbie Schutt, Woodward Avenue Action Association byway coordinator.
  • Detroit: Then and Now presented by Linda Yellin, Feet On The Street Tours founder and lead guide.
  • Ravaged by Neglect Not War: Historic Fort Wayne Reemerges presented by Thomas Berlucchi, Historic Fort Wayne Coalition chair.
  • River Raisin Battlefield: The Nation’s Newest National Park presented by Ralph Naveaux, author of Invaded on All Sides: The Story of Michigan’s Greatest Battlefield.
  • The Civil War Sesquicentennial: How to Capitalize on this National Commemoration presented by Karin Risko, author of a regional Civil War guidebook and heritage tourism networking event coordinator.

The inspiration to organize this conference struck Risko while reading about the Journey Through Hallowed Ground, a non-profit organization that unites and markets a 180-mile heritage area that stretches from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia home. In addition to the over 10,000 listings on the National Register of Historic Places, the heritage trail promotes the region’s cultural, scenic and recreational attractions along with vibrant downtowns, wineries, inns, antique shops, fairs, farmers markets, etc.

“Why can’t southeast Michigan benefit from this same type of regional branding?” asks Risko. “Our region has played a significant role in all aspects of American history.  Add to the mix our Native American, French and British legacy, and our story becomes even more exciting.”

Risko hopes this regional tourism networking event will attract a far-reaching audience of ordinary citizens, hospitality and tourism professionals, business owners, realtors, politicians, community leaders and members of non-profit organizations, business associations and chambers of commerce from southeast Michigan as well as outlying areas, including NW Ohio.

“Anyone who wants to become part of a collaborative effort to build a new regional economy based on local history, culture, and recreational opportunities should attend.”

According to Risko, the conference is important for our region not just because of the economic possibilities it presents but as a morale booster as well.

“Southeast Michigan and the entire state in general have taken not only an economic beating but a repeated, psychological thrashing in the press as well. It’s time we look to our past and take an accounting of all the ways the people of this great state have contributed to the shaping our Nation’s history.

” Whether it be in our answering the call to preserve the Union, our rapid conversion from automotive to armament production during World War II, our industrial innovation, or the courageous local people who raised their voices and spoke out against oppressive ideology and unfair labor practices, we have much to be proud of and reason to stand tall.

“Perhaps the solution for Michigan’s survival and revival is not so much in reinventing our state,” adds Risko, “but rather, in our rediscovering it.”

Registration for the Southeast Michigan Heritage Tourism Networking Event: Capitalizing On Our History is $20 per person or $180 for a table of ten prior to February 27, 2010.

Registration fee includes continental breakfast and Michigan-themed lunch.

After February 27th, registration fee is $28 per person and $250 for a table of ten.

Sponsorship opportunities are also available.

Register online at or call 734.642.5712 for further information.

Established in 2009 by former history teacher Karin Risko, Hometown History Tours encourages all to explore southeast Michigan and allow the region’s storied past to unfold. Hometown History Tours provides self-guided walking/driving tour guidebooks and narrated walking/bus tours as well as private and group tours and presentations.