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

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EMT Express - May 17, 2021

Boat houses in Red Wing / Photo by Douglas Anderson
Boat houses in Red Wing / Photo by Douglas Anderson

Sleeves up, masks off poster from StaySafeMNEnd to Statewide Face Covering Requirement

Governor Walz announced the end of Minnesota's statewide mask requirement, aligning Minnesota with new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on face coverings; local governments may continue to set their own guidelines. Minnesotans who are not fully vaccinated are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings indoors.

Businesses will be free to make their own decisions about whether to ask customers or employees to mask up. All other restrictions and protocols stay in place in Minnesota through May 28. This includes indoor requirements for 6 feet of social distancing between parties and 75% capacity.

Read more on the new CDC guidance.


Otter Tail County Hosts Successful Governor's Fishing Opener

The 73rd Minnesota Governor's Fishing Opener, held on Otter Tail Lake in Otter Tail County was an event to remember. Hosted by the Otter Tail Lakes Country Association, the event showcased Otter Tail County's diverse outdoor recreation opportunities, numerous lakes, welcoming communities and served as the kickoff to Minnesota's summer tourism season.

Fishing at the Governor's Fishing Opener This was the first time a county-wide effort was made to promote and execute the event.  Over 200 registered guests, including more than 70 media outlets, dignitaries and sponsors attended the event. This was also the first time a statewide virtual fishing derby took place, with over 500 entrants. There were nearly 20 social media influencers covering travel and recreation opportunities throughout the county during the event.

"I'm more emotional than I thought I'd be. It's my job and it's not like it's 'woe is me' and you shouldn't get patted on the back for doing what you're supposed to do, but I think about the things I love to do. I like being around people, I like talking to these guides that know fishing and picking their brains," Walz said between radio interviews. "For many Minnesotans, myself included, we did things to protect us on COVID but there was economic hurt for folks and there was mental hurt. But we know that nothing heals the soul like the outdoors, whether you catch a fish or not."

Explore Minnesota would like to thank everyone that helped make this year's event a huge success, including: Otter Tail Lakes Country, Otter Tail County, Thumper Pond, Beach Bums, Lund Boats, Shoremaster, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and all of the 2021 event sponsors, volunteers and attendees!

More information and photos can be found at, or via Twitter and Instagram by searching #MNGFO2021.


Website Accessibility Best Practices and Next Steps

If you missed Miles Partnership's webinar on making your website accessible from earlier this spring, you can still watch the recording or view the presentation online. Use actionable ideas from the webinar to help make smart decisions about how to tackle accessibility on your website.

Explore Minnesota also invites you to take a brief survey to let us know what you'd like to learn more about in the area of accessibility.

Take the survey now.


2021-22 Golf Guide cover2021-2022 Explore Minnesota Golf Guide Now Available

The Explore Minnesota Golf Guide offers readers a comprehensive look at Minnesota's extensive golf opportunities. The guide has been refreshed to improve visual appeal and enhance consumer engagement through a streamlined course grid and expanded inspirational content.

20,000 printed copies will be in circulation with an expected shelf life of two years. Distribution will include Explore Minnesota's Welcome Centers, Mall of America and golf industry events.

The guide is available to order, download or view online.


Phase One Crisis Grant Reconciliation Materials Due May 31

Under the Phase One Crisis Marketing Grant Program, grant reconciliation materials and all supporting documentation must be emailed or postmarked to Explore Minnesota no later than May 31. Failure to submit adequate reconciliation documents may result in repayment of financial advancements and may impact eligibility for future marketing grants from Explore Minnesota.

Review the full 2020-21 Crisis Marketing Grant Guidelines for details on what qualifies under the program and how to reconcile your grant.

If you have questions, please reach out to your regional Partner Relations representative.


Minnesota Department of Health Looking for Vaccine Event Hosts

As Minnesota reopens and begins the journey to recovery, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is looking for businesses interested in hosting small vaccination events at their establishment.

The vaccine distribution strategy is shifting from mass vaccine sites to smaller, more local events that are more convenient for those who still need a vaccination. This is an opportunity to serve your local community, create a convenient way for current customers to get a shot and attract others to your business. Broad community protection is necessary to rein in COVID-19 and get back to the normal, enjoyable parts of life we have all missed. 

Interested in hosting a community vaccination event? Complete the Community Vaccination Event Request Form to notify MDH of your interest. You will then receive a call or email from MDH or an affiliated partner to discuss the best options for fulfilling your request.


New and Updated COVID-19 Guidance & Resources

As new Executive Orders and recommendations are issued, updated guidance and resource pages are posted accordingly. Look for an "updated" date on these links to know when the resource was last revised.

EO 21-21 Updates:

For more information on guidance for reopening, visit the Stay Safe MN website


Results of Longwoods International COVID-19 Travel Sentiment Survey

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Longwoods International has been publishing results of their weekly travel sentiment survey. In the results of the 36th wave of this survey, here are a few key travel sentiment indicators to get Americans ready to start travelling again:

  1. As several key travel sentiment indicators continue to trend in the right direction or even set pandemic highs, many Americans are also recognizing that local businesses (many of which are tourism-related) were hardest hit by the economic fallout of the pandemic and wish to see their community and leadership make their recovery a priority.

  2. The percent of American travelers with plans to do so in the next six months is holding steady at 86%.

  3. The biggest jump in travel plan time frame is in the one- to two-month window, at 23%, pointing to a very strong start to summer travel season. Additionally, 48% of American travelers report plans to take their next trip within the next five months.

  4. Fear of COVID-19 impacting travel plans is down to 30%, a pandemic survey low.

  5. Sixty percent of American travelers now feel safe travelling outside their community, a pandemic survey high.

  6. Support for local businesses remains strong among residents (44%), and the recovery of those businesses hit hardest by the pandemic is seen as something local governments and destination organizations should prioritize by about half (48%) of Americans.

If you have questions about the latest survey or if you are interested, all previous survey highlights can be found on the Longwoods International website.


Registration Open for ESTO

ESTO (Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations) is the premier annual learning and knowledge-sharing forum for destination marketing professionals. Register now for the live, in-person event, Aug. 15-17 in Los Angeles.

Register now.


Nominations Open for ESTO Destiny & Mercury Awards

The Destiny & Mercury Awards at this year's ESTO gathering will celebrate all the creativity destination marketing organizations displayed during the most difficult year the travel industry has ever faced.

New categories including Advocacy and Grassroots, Community Building and Virtual Programming will offer opportunities for destination marketing organizations to showcase their invaluable role in communities across the U.S. All entries are due no later than Friday, June 25.

Learn more.


Webinar: Tourism Marketing Strategies as Your Destination Reopens

Join Crowdriff on May 19 at 2 p.m. for an important panel discussion about the tactics and strategies North American DMOs are using to clearly communicate with visitors and their community how they are reopening as quickly and responsibly as possible. Submit questions when registering.

Register now.


Upcoming Industry Webinars

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