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EMT Express

EMT Express provides biweekly news and tips for the people who market Minnesota tourism.

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EMT Express - October 8, 2019

The Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Opener is this weekend in Austin / Photo by Roland Jordahl courtesy of Pheasants Forever
The Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Opener is this weekend in Austin / Photo by Roland Jordahl courtesy of Pheasants Forever

Explore Minnesota 2020-21 Strategic Direction Open for Comment

Thank you to all who participated in Explore Minnesota’s strategic planning process, which included months of stakeholder engagement via face-to-face meetings, online surveys, input from the Tourism Council and our own staff. The result is a high-level strategic direction that will guide the agency’s work over the next two calendar years.

The plan is designed to be simple and agile, allowing us to respond to opportunities and changes in the marketplace, while ensuring we are focusing on the three key pillars of brand awareness, consumer engagement and partner collaboration. Our collective success in these areas will be measured by increased visitation, sales, state sales tax and jobs in Minnesota’s leisure and hospitality sector.

Please take some time to review the plan and provide your feedback. Feedback can be sent to Beth Helle, senior manager of partner relations, at The deadline for submitting feedback is Thursday, Oct. 31.

Download and read the plan here.


Explore Minnesota Tourism Award Nominations Now Open

The Explore Minnesota Tourism Awards honor some of the best and brightest leaders, important partners and most innovative tourism marketing campaigns in Minnesota. Awards will be presented on Tuesday evening, Feb. 25, during the 2020 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference, to be held at Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center in Alexandria.

The Explore Minnesota Tourism Awards celebrate the outstanding people, events, marketing initiatives and activities that help make Minnesota a premier travel destination.

  • What campaign made your social channels buzz?
  • What local business is an outstanding partner?
  • Who is a tourism champion in your community?

See the complete list of categories and submit your nomination online. Deadline for awards submissions is Friday, Nov. 15.

Questions? Contact David Bergman at 888-563-7777 or

Conference details and registration coming soon!


East West Marketing Wins Bid for China In-Country Representation

After a formal RFP process, Explore Minnesota has chosen East West Marketing Corp. as our in-country representation firm in China. East West Marketing also won the initial contract for in-country representation and has been marketing Minnesota in China for the last four years.

Some of their successful past promotions include Minnesota being chosen as “Best Adventure Tourism Destination” by Outbound Travel Magazine, online social media engagement on the Chinese platform Weibo that has grown to over 100,000 followers, and several media familiarization tours that have resulted in excellent magazine coverage including articles in Harper’s Bazaar Men’s Style Magazine in China and Voyage Magazine, a very popular travel magazine in China.

Future plans include creating a partnership with one of the largest online travel agencies in China, and hosting a film crew for a travel TV program shown on 150 stations in China.


American Bus Association Marketplace 2020

Every January, ABA welcomes the travel and tourism community to the first conference of the year: Marketplace. More than 3,500 tour operators, suppliers and exhibitors come together to kick off a new year of business opportunity and growth. The Marketplace is the largest annual opportunity to meet with over 800 tour operators. Through an affordable partnership with Explore Minnesota, your organization can be a part of the Minnesota presence.

Click here to download the partnership form. For further information, please contact Millie Philipp at


2019 NTA Travel Exchange

Travel Exchange brings tourism professionals from all industry sectors together in one location. NTA’s annual convention features buyers of all sizes who package travel to, from and within North America. Tour suppliers and DMOs represent the hottest product on the market from every U.S. state, all Canadian provinces and dozens of countries worldwide.

This year’s event is scheduled to take place in Fort Worth, Texas, from Dec 8-12. Please contact Millie Philipp at if you are planning to attend.


Alexandria Named Best MN Town by Minnesota Monthly

Earlier this year, Minnesota Monthly sent out a call to towns and cities across the state for entries in its third annual Best MN Town contest. Congratulations to Alexandria on being this year’s winner!

Communities all across Minnesota heeded the request and submitted their case on why they should be named Best MN Town. The selection process used wide-ranging criteria including responses from the towns to questions about its traits and engagement, qualitative and quantitative research, as well as an online public vote.

As a result of being named the 2019 Best MN Town, Alexandria will receive a host of benefits including an editorial feature in the 2020 March/April edition of Minnesota Monthly (valued at over $50,000).

For more information on Minnesota Monthly’s Best MN Town Search, visit


Develop Your Festival and Event Management Skills

In this one-week course, students will learn how to identify partners, create sponsorship packages and tailored outreach, and strategies for sponsorship renewal for their events. Students will also have an opportunity to hear from expert practitioners and create their own sponsorship program. The course will be taught by Jennifer Hawkins, MBA, a University of Minnesota Extension Educator with over 15 years of experience in education, community and economic development. One Continuing Education Credit (CEUs) is available to students who complete the one-week course.

Find more course information and register for the course by Oct. 25 for the early bird rate.


Mississippi River Parkway Commission Seeks Candidates for Regional Commissioner Positions

The MN Mississippi River Parkway Commission (MN-MRPC) is accepting applications for regional commissioners to represent the Crossings (Grand Rapids to Brainerd) and Scenic (Brainerd to Elk River) regions of the Great River Road for a two-year term. Candidates must reside in the region and applications are due Oct. 29. The MN-MRPC is a statutory Commission, recognized in 1963, whose mission is to promote, preserve and enhance the resources of the Mississippi River and to develop the highways and amenities of the Great River Road.

The MN-MRPC will elect the commission members at upcoming regional meetings.

The Scenic regional meeting is scheduled for Nov. 6 from 3-4:30 p.m. at the Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce, and the Crossings regional meeting will be held Nov. 7 from 1-2:30 p.m. at the Old Central School Building in Grand Rapids. All are welcome at the meeting for Great River Road updates and conversation about activities in the region.

Meeting and application information is available at

Please contact Chris Miller at or 651-341-4196 with questions or to submit an application. 

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