Lakeland Currents - Explore Minnesota
Lakeland. Currents your public affairs program, for north-central Minnesota. Produced, by Lakeland PBS with host ray gildow. Production. Funding from Lakeland currents is made possible by Bemidji, regional airports serving the region with daily flights to Minneapolis st. Paul International Airport, more information, available at momiji airport or, closed. Captioning, for lakeland currents is sponsored by, Nisswa, tax service tax. Preparation for businesses, and individuals online, at, nisswatax.com. Hello. Again everyone and welcome to Lakeland currents, where tonight. We get to talk about our, great, state of Minnesota and, I think anybody who lives here would agree this. Is a wonderful. Place to live except, sometimes in January, and February gets. A little bit hairy but, we're. Going to talk tonight about explore. Minnesota which. Is actually an organization. That's. Been in business for quite some time and. We're. Going to find out about all things Minnesota, as we go through the program this evening my, guest is the regional, manager for explore, Minnesota and. Nicole alum and she. Is hails. From right now New York Mills I do and welcome, to the show thank you very much ray I appreciate, it and let's just talk a little bit about you first because you're pretty new to this job but. You're not new to the job of public relations and, promotional. Things tell, us what you've done yes, so I started. Just in May with explore Minnesota prior. To that I was, the Chamber director at Park. Rapids for. Their Chamber of Commerce and, Convention and Visitors Bureau before. That I worked, at a resort, in Ottertail Minnesota thumper. Pond oh sure, resort, as well the roof cave in it did what it's all better now. And. Yes. So I've been in the tourism industry for, a while but now I'm working at the state agency explore Minnesota and, as the regional, manager, what. Are your general duties. So. Our region, that we cover Northwest. And central is basically everything from Lake of the Woods down. To Hutchinson, and then. Fargo-moorhead. Over, to Hill City and, so we work with industry. Partners accommodations. Attractions. Dining. And, other. Tourism. Destination. Marketing. Organizations. To promote this. Particular. Region and then, also I. Am. The coordinator for the governor's fishing opener, David.
Bergman Who's in the Northwest region he coordinates, the deer hunting opener. Our. Southern. Regional Manager, coordinates, the pheasant opener those are all media press events that we do on, an annual basis, so how many how many regions. Are there technically. There are five five, regions, Northwest and Central that, David Bergman and I work in in this southern, there. Is the Metro, Minneapolis. St. Paul region, and in the Northeast. Region which goes up the North Shore. Do. You have any idea what, tourism. Is. Worth to the economy. Of Minnesota, tourism, Minnesota. Is a fourteen billion dollar, industry. It. Is a. Seventeen. Percent of, our, sales. Tax revenues, we're, an agency that's funded, through. The legislature, through. Sales. Tax in the general fund so. Wow. That's a lot of money seventeen, billion dollars and, I'm. Sure. You've. Got one of the I would say one of the real nice. Areas, because of all the lakes, it. Would probably be a little more challenged, as you get people to go to some other parts. Of the air maybe well there's just more, agriculture. Not. As many things to see. And do on the, outdoors as we have in this region we're definitely, covering cabin, country here the Lakes Country for, sure with Mille Lacs, all. The way up leech you know all of it to Lake of the Woods there's, there's, so. Much to, see and do here and I am just, starting to scratch the surface of everything that there is and I've grown. Up in Otter Tail County but. So. We're realizing how little I know so, when you say your your job is to promote your region, that's your primary focus in addition. To doing the governor's fishing over which is a huge. Task, in itself. I've been involved in a number of those over the years takes, a lot of planning a lot of coordination I saw, I would guess you're working on it now we, are. 2018. Will be in the Willmar Lakes area and so, we're gonna be on green lake outside a Spicer and looking. Forward to exploring new London and Wilmer it's the. Fishing openers, all of the openers they're really, a media. Event so. We, invite. Media. Who. Will promote, that. Particular, area so what we're looking for in, a host community is. For. Them to have a committed. Committee of people, who just, really want to shine a spotlight on. Everything. They have to offer not, just fishing, or deer. Hunting, but, really what does the community have to offer any. Kind of visitor at. Any time of year so, so you're, working with Wilmer but I would, guess that means some of the Spicer and some of the Lua communities, around will also be involved Oh certainly, it's, the Wilmer Lakes area so we we, have committee members on the executive, committee from all of those communities are representative. Represented. As well as the DNR is represented. And. We're. Just doing, our best to really shine the spotlight on the. Whole area so, getting, back to your region, that you're working in mm-hmm which is do, you call it the central region is that primarily. Yes I work in the central region does that involve you're working, with other states, do, you do things out of Minnesota, to get people attracted. To Minnesota, how. Does that work yes so as an agency, we have some, partnerships. Both. With, brand. USA, on a country. Level to. Promote the, United States of America, to other countries, and really. Mm-hmm, also. With the Great. Lakes Association. To promote. Kind, of I, want. To say it's like a nine or ten state area, to. The rest of the country and so. We work in partnership with, those we, also do our own international. Marketing. China. Is a really good growth market, for us really we're also looking at, the. Scandinavian. Countries, obviously, with our our heritage here. We we, tend to be a good draw that way France, is another, country that we do a lot of work in so we're. Doing. We're. Doing things that. You'll see to, explore, Minnesota and, we can talk about some of those but. There's things that you will. Never see here. Television. Promotions, are they print. Promotions. What are they supported, China for example some, of them are, publications.
And Some, of them are industry. Industry. Facing. Where we, work, with travel up travel, operators, and group tour planners, to package. Minnesota. And say, you know spend ten days in the land of 10,000, lakes technically. 12,000. Lakes but. Yes. So we, work with them we also have in-country, representation. In some of those markets, as well so. When. You have, all. Of these things you're working on it's just you're an office of two people here aren't you I am but the agency, is in st. Paul the headquarters, are in st. Paul and there is a whole. Division. That's, dedicated, to international. And group tour, travel, there's, a division. That's dedicated, to marketing, the, state with, other. Partners, as well as doing. The media, campaigns. I know years, ago I used to do some work with the Minnesota, resort Association, and I know that's. A real, big partner of yours yes, I I was just at their annual meeting, for the Resort and campground Association, it was just a bit breezy point so it was a nice quick. Drive for me, coming. From the Brainerd area but. There. Is also the community of Minnesota, resorts which is another statewide organization. There's a bed-and-breakfast, Association, we, work in partnership with all of them to assist. In marketing. The. Products, that their members have to offer to visitors as well you, said you, won't see what's happening, in some of these foreign countries but you'll see what's happening here what, are some examples of, things that Minnesotans. And the central. Region might see in the next year. One of the things we have this little event coming up in February, down, in the Metro called the Super Bowl and one. Of the things that we've done is we've partnered with Minneapolis. St. Paul to, produce a series of videos called my north and. They, are putting out a video a week so it's 52 videos between, last year's Superbowl and this, year's Superbowl and where are they gonna be shown you can search for them right, online you can just search my North series and you'll find them otherwise. You can go to explore. Minnesota and, find them sorry these were to be shown in other states too or just Minnesota they've been shown well, so they're digital so they're on social, media so they're being shared all over the world, yes certainly. One. Of my favorites, that they've done so far is their they're interviewing, Minnesotans. So they've done. Famous. Minnesotans, that are. Steve. Zahn yeah and some others but. One of my favorites is Amy Thielen from, the Park Rapids Lakes area she's, a Food. Network. She. Had a Food Network show and she's a chef okay, and they're, interviewing famous, Minnesotans, really. About what it means to them to be from Minnesota, and what, Minnesota means, to them when they come back that, sort, of thing and it's just the, my North series been has been really, really, good at. Telling that Minnesota, story how. Is, it that you folks are evaluated. To see if what you're doing is working how. Does how does that happen there is a slew. Of research. That, is done both. With consumers. With travelers, and tourists as well. As research. Just on, the. Leisure, hospitality. Industry. Within the state we. Work with deed we have our own research analysis. Analyst. That works on that so. You're, in charge of the fishing opener this next May and. That. Involves. Working with chambers, of commerce and, all, kinds, of organizations in. Those areas, and I, know that there's been different. Levels of success, in, fishing. Openers and probably with pheasant. Openers too depending. On the. Commitment, from the community, wouldn't you say that would be a huge, portion, of how successful, these events will be because. It takes a huge, number of volunteers, to, make this really successful, doesn't it it, does take a large number of volunteers, it, also takes, a lot of planning, and so. When, I, think, from. What I can see when communities, really communicate.
About. What it is and what's going on it, just, lends, itself to that much more successful. Of, an event, when. When. You have a small committee that does an event and they don't really let the community and on it it. Might not be as successful for them. So. You. Have your initiatives, and we can talk about those in a minute but if, there's a community. Let's. Just say theoretically. Pequot. Lakes or, if, Pine, River if, they want to do something unique with explore, Minnesota is, that an option they have or are, you limited, by your resources. For, what you can do outside of your normal. Agenda. We have a lot, of different, programs that. Companies. And organizations. In the tourism industry can, take advantage, of we. Have, a partnerships. Program, as. I mentioned the the my. North series, is one example of, that the. Sound. Of the north where they brought the. Vikings out throughout, the state that was another explore Minnesota oh really, partnership, we also have what was it what was the point of that what were they doing there they. Found. The North tour went, to different communities, and they. Sounded the horn and it. Was just building some, excitement. Over the Superbowl and and and. The. Event that's coming up so they're talking about a potential million, people in it in the metro area for the Superbowl yeah, and it's going, to be a huge, spotlight on Minnesota, I was reading in some, of the places close, to, the. US. Bank Stadium are, actually renting, out their places for five to ten thousand, dollars I'm night graces. That's, a pretty good Explorer opportunity. For Minnesotans, isn't it that's. That's all an opportunity, for those Metro people to get out -, I know I've heard similar. To when I lived in Duluth and everyone would leave town for. The, grandmas marathon so that there. Wasn't so much traffic around I, know, that Otter Tail the. Otter Tail lakes area is planning a large. Party. On the ice on Otter Tail Lake for. Ya. On that weekend, with concerts, and all kinds of events so. It isn't all things right. By the US. Bank now you see. All over Minnesota well. In the Brainerd fishing, extravaganza. Is that weekend as well so there's. All kinds of things going on oh do you have a obviously. You have a website but on your website you, list all things, Minnesotans. Can go to see, across, have a a very, comprehensive, events, listing, everything. From arts and cultural events to, town. Festivals, and fairs to. You. Know workshops. And, things you can go, to learn to. Make, bread, or, what have you it's events, listings on explore Minnesota talk on our that's, one of our most, popular. Pages. And and databases, that get searched, so. You. Do the fishing opener which, is I, would, guess probably takes, the most person.
Power To. Manage. But what, are some of the other initiatives. I know you do the pheasant, opener mm-hmm, and the deer hunting opener too right we do are those are three kind. Of outdoor openers, that are covered by explore, Minnesota those. Are our major, like, mass media. Familiarization. Events that we do but. There is an opportunity, if. We have an outdoor writer, who. Perhaps freelances. For The. Wall Street Journal, that will. Take that writer and, take, them around the, state so that they can see, different. Things and experience. Minnesota, and go, back and write a really, good article about it we do it on a small scale as well with different media partners, there, was a. Case. Of about. Two years ago and I'm, sure you saw this where, the gentleman wrote some, negative, things I think was over by Red. Lake Falls or, Red, Lake County right, now Red Lake County and he. Lives there now and now they move moved, his family and found out this was pretty nice to place to live over there but that's, really sort. Of ironic isn't it that's quite as quite a story, so, besides those three, openers, in and the. Pheasant. Obviously, is probably not as big as a fishing opener I would guess for her is, that an accurate statement for, the numbers has, been around as long no, about. Three, or four years I, think plenty started. The. Fishing openers been around 71, years is it really so being 70 first Wow. And, then the deer hunting is even, newer isn't it it's. Around the same I think about the same yeah, as as. The pheasant, so. Those. Are some things that communities, can get involved in but we also have different campaigns, that they can get involved in as well like like what are some examples so, we, do, a. Thing. Called a marketing grant program, where. Marketing. Organizations. Can. Access. Grant, funds through explore Minnesota in order to market their particular. Community. So. Rather. Than being, a part of the overall overarching. Campaign, they have an opportunity, to do their own marketing. With their own, targets. Really, to, invite people to come and experience what they have to offer so. Something, someone like Crosby, who's got the bike. Trails right could tie into that and probably already have as far. As I know and then they can promote. Just that specific, that. They're doing exactly. Exactly so. That's one program, we also how are, those judge how are they determined how, are they given, out is that a committee that looks at that those. Are, basically. They're. Basically, there's a there's a deadline so for, application, and we. Try to grant, to the full this year at $7,000. We have a pool, of money and depending, on how many requests, we get and how much money they request, because, some requests. The full amount and some don't. We, we just try to give away all the money so that the marketing is being, done we, also have a new program this, year an events program so, communities. Throughout. The state that are really looking at starting a new event or. Soliciting. To have an event happen in. Their community, can possibly. Apply and access some funding to help them, operate. That and produce an event because really you know people when. They visit. Or travel, it's what can I see and what, can I eat and. So. We've, started an events program. That's been really, very successful in, bringing some things you, know Minnesota, we've had the, Ryder Cup and we've had the X Games and now we have the Super Bowl coming so Final Four is on its way there's. Really. Big events, coming to Minnesota but there's other things that, are, people. Are executing. As well in order to, inspire. Travel. Well.
It's It's. Just amazing to meet all the things that are going on, and. The diversity. That's in our state I mean I don't know that people. Think about the. Differences, between Newall, and. That. Area to the Iron Range and to, western, Minnesota, I mean, really I think, all of us could say there's a lot of. Minnesota. That we haven't seen oh you. Know certainly, I mean out of the business that could explore. Minnesota, could. And could come from Minnesotans, because, I know I'm guilty of that there's a lot of places I've heard. About or read about I think I would be neat to go to you, know years. Ago Jason, Davis, had this on the road again okay just like channel 5 and he that I thought that was one of the things that did so well as it, covered interesting, people in Minnesota. In so many places, well. It really is the stories, the little the, little things that you never knew that. Makes. Place place, is so neat unique there's. Dorset. For, example, you know even, after it burned down it's it's risen. Above the ash it has a Phoenix. Right. We. Did an article this, this, year on. Unique. Places to watch movie, and the, communities, that do, movies in the park or the drive-in. Theaters that are still hearing are there still some drivers, are yes. There's not many not, many but there are still drive-in, theaters and and, it's. Just those things make us so special, I think yeah and so, when. They go on your website they, can see a lot, of these places I would guess you're just constantly, adding, new things new, features there the website I'm, currently, we're in the process of switching over to the winter transition, and you, know it's long and it's, cold and it can be miserable but if you get out there and and, check things out there's fad, biking, trails and snowshoeing and, dog sledding and, cross-country, skiing, and, kite. Kite, surfing on the lakes there's all. Kinds of things to do no matter what season it is so. Would you folks, get, together do, you put together a strategy, every, year as a. Team for what. You're going to do next year do you you, kind of look at what's worked in the past year and then, sort of reevaluate. Your goals as an, explorer Minnesota, organization. Always. What. Are the trends you know the the way event. Organizations. And communities, marketed, to tourists, in the past is not necessarily, the way, way. Of the future and one. Of the things that we've done is. Build. Our social media presence so. We have a hashtag, hashtag. Only in MN it, has over a half a million uses already, so, if anybody is on the internet, and looking for inspiration. Just. Do a search on hashtag only, in MN and you will find. Little. Nooks and crannies, of different, state parks and. Different, communities, that you. Never thought of before. How. About the micro breweries are you starting to see a, pattern. There I mean, there's these breweries are popping, up all over. That never existed five, years ago exactly, there it is on it's, on it's an industry on the grow and it's definitely. Something that we cover on our site we had a partner ship actually with growler magazine, and we, mapped. Breweries. And distilleries. Wineries, in Minnesota, and mapped them all out for you so you can you, can make a trail and a tour and all over aren't they they're just still popping up all over they, are and and. We're. Doing our own thing, it's Minnesota. You. Know cold. Weather cold, hardy, fruits and grapes. For wineries, to make to, make spirits. And Panther. Distillery, comes to mind there's, a couple other things that, they're. Just. Embracing. Minnesota. And in telling story in a whole new way in. That, era from the Great Recession from. And I know you weren't with explore, Minnesota then, but. From 2008. To about 2012. I'm. A fishing guide and I know we really saw a huge. Drop. In the. Businesses. That we had in central, Minnesota and I, think they're things. Are really rebounding, pretty well aren't they it seems to be coming back. It. Seems that people will not only are traveling. More. With. Their families, but businesses, are doing, things more, there. Are more, Outfitters. And more. Rental, places, more, bike, shops. I just, think that people. Are people. Are starting, to value their. Leisure. Time as well and really, starting, to you. Know they say that you plan, more, for vacation, people plan for their vacations, in their travel more, than they plan for their retirement really, and wow.
That's. Pretty scary. But. At the same time. You. Know making those kinds of memories and making those connections with, with different. Communities, and with your family and your friends it's. Really important, I have, I, have friends who are campers. And. You, know we always have, talked about how hard it is to get places to stay in Florida in the wintertime just even for a couple, of weeks because everything, is booked. And they're. Telling me that these, state parks in Minnesota are booked so far in advance you. Have to really you know, get ahead of that or you're not going to have a place to stay and one. Of the things that's developing. Is the air BnB. And some. Of these rental, things - do, you have any link, to those kinds, of things if people are looking for places, to stay let's say there's someone here watching. Us from North Dakota and they want to stay do you do you have a place where on your, website people can find places to stay so, at explore Minnesota comm places, to stay and you can search for bed-and-breakfast. You can search, for campgrounds. You can search for, classic. Minnesota. Resorts or, that full-service luxury. Type. Of, accommodation. There's, it's. There yes it's all there it is and it's just called explore, Minnesota calm, it is well, that's it easy one to remember we hope so yeah what. Else would you like us to know is. There anything else you'd that we haven't talked about your age, people to get out get, out and explore see what there is around. The corner there's something. Even, ten miles down the road something you never knew there's a. Veterans. Museum in, their own words in Perm Minnesota, I never knew, even existed. I didn't know that what's really what's. It about so in, their own words it is an interactive. Museum. Where you can hear, veterans, tell their stories really, yeah from the World War to Vietnam. Even. Of the more recent conflicts, Wow. And where's, that located right downtown it's in Perm it's just on the Main Street yeah, as you're heading on the west. Side of town I, didn't. Even know it was there there's. Things everywhere, yeah wow. That's amazing well. We're. About out of time but we got about a minute left, if, you were to give. People a heads up about two. Or three of the most exciting things you see coming down a road besides a Super Bowl what, might that be what are some of the things in this in your region, that, you're seeing coming up this summer or this this. Winter, what you think people should know about well there's eelpout and. I see, that staying in Walker it, staying in Walker yes, they weren't sure but it's, going to be in Walker this year that's. That's, one great you know wintertime event about 10,000 people come to that just a few yes you and your friends, yeah. There's, all kinds, of trails, being built and developed which, is super exciting with, fat. Bike trails, and mountain biking. Hiking. Trails, so, those are really, good ways to get out and explore and there's.
A Lot of youth mentoring, programs, too, as well and teaching, kids how to enjoy, nature. Yeah. Well, thank you Nicole for jumping onboard on her show it's it's, great to hear of the good things happening with explore Minnesota it's, a wonderful, place to be and get, out there and look at it thank. You you've. Been watching Lakeland currents, I'm, ray gildow so, long, until next time.