The Iron Range hopes Northeastern Minnesota revamps tourism afte - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

The Iron Range hopes Northeastern Minnesota revamps tourism after conference Thursday

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CHISHOLM, MN -

 The Iron Range is known for its mining, but officials also want it to be known for tourism.
Thursday, hundreds took the first step in that direction. 

Over 100 people joined the Minnesota Arrowhead Association for the Northeastern Minnesota Tourism Conference in the hopes to bring back some ideas they learned there, to their businesses.

 "We've invited people from all over the region to come together and talk about tourism, learn about tourism and learn about the way we can collaborate and promote ourselves better," said Director of Iron Range Tourism Bureau, Beth Pierce.

 According to Explore MN, tourism brings in 14.4 billion dollars into the state in gross sales, but in order to keep that number, or potentially raise it Megan Christianson, Executive Director for Visit Grand Rapids, says it starts with millennial.

"We want to be ready, we are excellently placed from an outdoor recreation and an art standpoint and so we need young, new, vibrant talent to come here and help us get ready for the future and help guide us into the future," said Christianson.

Burl Ives, who owns a hotel in Grand Rapids and is an Itasca County Commissioner says he's always looking for the next big thing

"You know, I need to have more diversity, I have to have more diversity, I have to beat the business," said Ives.

Ives says that includes weathering the seasons.

"The hospitality business this winter business wasn't all that great, we didn't have snow very long," said Ives.

But, now, his main concern is the future of his business and that means wedding season.

"For me today was about learning more about social media, blogging, staying on trends on what websites the brides use for ideas that type of thing and same with the clothing and look and what is trendy today, you know so we are within the curve," said Ives.

Explore Minnesota says they hope to bring that 14.4 billion annual tourism revenue up to 20 billion by the year 2020.

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