OTHER OPINION: TOURISM | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

OTHER OPINION: TOURISM

Better marketing needed

Posted: November 3, 2011 - 8:45pm

There’s nothing wrong with cracker-sprinkled tuna noodle hotdish, but it doesn’t mean you can’t crave a garlicky stir fry dotted with sesame seeds.
A recent tourism study says Minnesota is too bland — not flavorful enough to visit.
The really irritating factor about the assessment that labels Minnesota as dull is that it comes from some people who live in not-exactly-scintillating environs such as Michigan, Illinois and Nebraska. Ouch.
Explore Minnesota Tourism commissioned the study and found out that of the 844 people surveyed, only 22 percent said they would consider traveling to Minnesota in the next two years.
The state tourism bureau has some serious work to do. Finding a more attractive, encompassing theme is one of them, tourism officials admit. Tourists are urged to “Explore Minnesota.” Companies looking to do business here are given the message “Positively Minnesota.”
Lakes are nice, but nobody needs 10,000 of them during one visit. We also have The Guthrie, Lake Superior, the start of the Mississippi River, the birthplace of Betsy Tacy books, the historical sites of the Dakota Conflict, a SPAM museum, a bald eagle center, waterfalls, petroglyphs, hundreds of miles of biking trails. The list goes on and on.
A tourism study of the Mankato area also unveils there is more work to be done to familiarize potential visitors with our myriad offerings. Just this year an original play written by a Mankato native was performed, a belly-dancing group did an outdoor show, and Grammy Award winners Lucinda Williams, Taj Mahal and John Hiatt played here.
Most Minnesotans are known for downplaying success, being modest and humble — mostly, likely, just mumbling about great things. That doesn’t work when it comes to touting attractions.