Ecotourism and experiential tourism will be the focus of a community meeting at 3 p.m. Monday in the council chambers at Palestine City Hall.

The speaker will be Ted Eubanks, president of Fermata Inc., an authority in the ecotourism industry.

“We have been working along the Neches River area for quite some time and wanted to bring ecotourism to the forefront in East Texas,” said Andy Jones with the conservation fund.

The groups are working together to form a cohesive plan for the Neches River basin which will preserve the natural habitat while growing the economy.

“We are the only conservation group that is charted for economic development and promotes conservation,” Jones said. “We want to come and look in every nook and cranny to find the unique things about Palestine to market.”

Jones said when a person look at travel destinations in Texas for ecotourism East Texas is not mentioned.

“Nobody’s doing it and it is not being looked into,” Jones said. “Our goal is to bring people to East Texas and make them want to stay and drop money.”

To pay for this study which will began this month, Jones is looking to partner with economic development corporations, chambers of commerce and convention and visitors bureaus.

“We were in Palestine two and a half months ago and received lots of positive feed back on the project,” Jones said. “This is why we are coming back to the area to build this partnership.”

Jones said the comprehensive plan would include help creating the need tourism jobs to make the study real.

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Sherryl-Lynn Williams can be reached via e-mail at swilliams@palestineherald.com

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