On August 1, 2014, we hosted an Ecotourism Luncheon with Miles Phillips from Texas A&M AgriLIfe Extension. Miles spoke on the value of ecotourism to an area.
His presentation addressed issues of interest to landowners and communities wanting to increase economic opportunities through sustainable tourism. This included details from studies indicating the economic impact of wildlife, nature and heritage tourism activities and trends for Texas and the United States. He presented examples of successful nature tourism businesses and communities in Texas and an overview of key concepts related to understanding how to develop a tourism enterprise. He also provided details on how a landowner or community could obtain direct assistance from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and some of the other related organizations in Texas and the US. This includes his program web site naturetourism.tamu.edu that provides information on Agritourism, Adventure, Hunting and Fishing operations. His talk also addressed the role of professional guides and guided activities and offered to work with Goldthwaite and the region to develop a customized Wildlife Tour Guide Training and Certification.
We have partnered with Texas A&M Agrilife Extension and the Goldthwaite EDC this summer to work on the ecotourism component of our project under Miles Phillips. We’ve also had a summer intern from A&M – Kelly Simerskey – who has done a fantastic job.
Mr. Phillips is an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist with Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service. His specialty is Nature Tourism and serves as Associate Department Head for Extension in the Recreation, Parks and Tourism Sciences Department at Texas A&M University.
In his current position he supports program development for the extension agents in all 254 counties. He also works directly with clients across the state. He is a member of the Texas State Tourism Agency Council, the Texas Travel Industry Association Nature Tourism Council and one of the 8 members of the National Extension Tourism Design Team.
He has conducted ecotourism development work in Texas, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, West Virginia, and South Carolina. Prior to his work in ecotourism Mr. Phillips worked as a consulting environmental engineer doing site assessments, construction oversight and managing large scale (“Superfund”) environmental remediation projects. He credits a month long trip to southern Africa in 1994 as motivating his career redirection into ecotourism development.
Mr. Phillips regularly conducts presentations, workshops, individual consultations and training programs with entities interested in developing nature tourism operations. This includes communities, businesses, & non-profit organizations. He often works directly with ranchers & farmers for diversification and private landowners/developers. He enjoys leading specialty wildlife tours and is a certified Interpretive Guide Trainer, training people to be more effective communicators.From the A&M Website