By Ron Brochu, BusinessNorth
A tourism promotion plan sought by city of Duluth administrators has less to offer than the existing one that has been managed for decades by Visit Duluth, representatives of the destination marketing organization (DMO) argued Thursday.
Earlier this week, Mayor Emily Larson said tourism tax revenue should be allocated to private advertising and promotion agencies in Minneapolis and Sioux Falls rather than Visit Duluth. In recent years, Visit Duluth has received $2.2 million of those dollars to provide promotion, marketing and convention sales. Larson’s new plan will pay $1.8 million to the outside firms for tourism promotion and $400,000 to Visit Duluth, which would promote conventions, sports activities and special events. Some other tourism tax revenue is allocated for other uses including bond repayment for tourism-related structures.
Tourism is a large economic generator for the city. According to Visit Duluth statistics, the city averages 6.7 million annual tourist visitors generating more than $950 million in economic impact for the city. The hospitality industry in the area features more than 5,000 hotel rooms and more than 50 downtown restaurants.