The International Peace Garden (IPG) wants to bring communities together to talk about working more closely together to help improve tourism in the region.

The IPG is a popular tourist spot south of Boissevain that attract thousands of visitors every year.

CEO Tim Chapman says they plan to hold the Turtle Mountain Tourism Summit on May 4th. The inaugural Tourism Summit, sponsored by Travel Manitoba with support from North Dakota Tourism.

"This will be our first go at getting as many merchants and community leaders as possible to join together at the IPG to network, exchange ideas and take part in a panel with people who have great success on both sides of the border with place branding.

Chapman says they were inspired after attending a Travel Manitoba tourism conference in Winnipeg. "What we found there is a real strong effort in rural areas on both sides of the border where towns and communities are pairing up to cross promote each other to look at each as part of a region rather than just individual towns," said Chapman.

"It can be difficult because some of these communities because you can be looking at long entrenched mind sets of you know if this town is doing this it isn't going to help us. Our keynote speaker is a rural sociologist, and his numbers show when communities work together it benefits businesses and families wanting to move to that area."

Tim Chapman pointed to communities like Morden and Winkler and how working together can benefit a region. They're thought of as rival towns but when they started working together on promoting the area, they saw a good return and more interest in what the whole area had to offer."

Organizers are hoping to attract mayors, councils, economic developers and merchants at the Tourism Summit. "We're reaching out to all the chambers so they know, and Travel Manitoba is helping fund the event so folks can attend for free."