CARSON CITY, Nevada — Tips on astrophotography, historical buildings as tourist draws and productive strategic plans are among the topics at the Rural Roundup conference April 11-13 in Tonopah, Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison announced today. The annual conference, organized by the Nevada Division of Tourism (TravelNevada), is a forum for those in Nevada’s rural tourism industry, a $2.3 billion enterprise that employs thousands in the state’s rural counties.

“Tourism is a huge part of Nevada’s economy — it is 13 percent of the state’s gross domestic product, a much larger percentage than in other states,” Hutchison, chairman of the Nevada Commission on Tourism, said. “Much of that economic activity is centered in Las Vegas, but the tourism business is also significant in rural Nevada. Rural Roundup is an opportunity for tourism professionals to share ideas and successes, and help each other strengthen and grow this industry.”

Keynote speaker Bodine Balasco will discuss strategic plans and the generation of innovative ideas in what promises to be an entertaining presentation: he’s also a magician. Other presentations include a session on astrophotography — or night photography — by Nevada photographer Neil Lockhart and Nevada Magazine Art Director Kippy Spilker. Rural Nevada’s lack of light pollution results in dramatic views of the sky at night and a different way to promote rural Nevada — something both Tonopah and Great Basin National Park already have seized upon. Also scheduled is a session on historical buildings and places, and how those can become economic development tools, presented by Jim Bertolini of the Nevada State Historic Preservation Office.

Registration for Rural Roundup is $65 through March 30 and $100 thereafter. Sign up online at RuralRoundup.com.

Motor coach transportation to and from Rural Roundup will be available from Reno/Carson City and from Las Vegas. The cost is $30, and includes a boxed lunch both ways. For specific itineraries and to register, visit RuralRoundup.com/Transportation.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you are a member of the media and would like to attend Rural Roundup, contact Angela Froelich, afroelich@travelnevada.com or 775-687-0639.

The Nevada Division of Tourism (TravelNevada) is part of the Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs. It is responsible for promoting and marketing Nevada as a travel destination to domestic and international travelers. Operating within a performance-based budget structure, TravelNevada is funded solely by a percentage of lodging tax paid by overnight guests throughout the state. For more, visit www.TravelNevada.biz.