The City of Ely Tourism Strategic Planning Committee began the process of identifying goals to meet its mission statement and official objective at its meeting at city hall on Mar. 8.

The committee first reviewed the mission statement it had approved two weeks earlier. The mission statement reads: to promote, foster and embrace our natural resources for tourism in an atmosphere of small town hospitality and charm.

The more specific objective approved by the committee reads: to increase tourism activity by 20 percent in the next three years.

The committee then discussed a variety of ideas to improve the draw of tourists to Ely. Suggested possible events included car shows, cycling tours, an Octoberfest, antler shed and mining festivals, a recreational vehicle roundup, a hot-air balloon festival and more conventions.

The committee also wants to attract motorcycle groups and other tourists with better signage.

Mayor Melody Van Camp suggested a billboard at the intersection of US Highway 93 and Nevada State Route 318, a shortcut well known to local commuters. The word “shortcut” could then be used on the sign as a tourism slogan to attract northbound motorists toward Ely.

Once those drivers arrive in Ely, an information kiosk downtown could provide them with trail maps and other promotional literature.

The committee also agreed to reach out to and work with state government agencies such as the Nevada Tourism Board and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. If successful, many of the aforementioned ideas would create new organizational responsibilities requiring the possible creation of a volunteer coordinator position.

The committee plans to invite the White Pine County Tourism and Recreation Board to collaborate, as well as the White Pine Chamber of Commerce. The committee also decided to review and possibly change the number of committee members. There are currently 12 members, but due to conflicting schedules all members can rarely attend regular meetings.

The committee meets next  on Tuesday, Mar. 22 at 3 p.m. at city hall.