International travel is no longer the mysterious phenomenon it once was. The convenience of air travel and relatively high standards of living in many countries have resulted in an increasing number of travelers crossing oceans and continents to reach their vacation destinations.
Some of the Brainerd area's resorts hire young, European staff members who want to take advantage of a chance to see the United States while earning some money at the same time.
And it's not just the United States' east and west coasts that draw these foreign tourists. Even remote Midwest locations such as Mount Rushmore in western South Dakota, attract a surprising number of foreign visitors.
These are some of the reasons why the Brainerd City Council's action this week authorizing $2,500 for Mayor James Wallin to visit Brainerd's sister city of Leksand, Sweden was perfectly appropriate.
The relationship goes back to 1988 and several representatives of the Swedish city have visited Brainerd. Common courtesy as well as common sense would dictate that we return the favor.
Minnesota has a relatively high concentration of people who are of Swedish descent so there are family links and a shared history that exist between the European nation and this state. Why not try to encourage more Swedes to visit to the Brainerd area?
It's a much smaller world than it was 50 years ago. For $2,500 Brainerd can send Mayor Wallin and his wife (whose trip would be funded privately) to Sweden with their suitcase stuffed with promotional brochures for this area. The city could probably even enlist Leksand native Ingrid Anderson to write a few letters of introduction in Swedish for the honorable mayor and his wife.
Sometimes a little bit of effort to spread some goodwill is rewarded many times over.
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