Visit Cook County Hosts "Destination Northern Ontario Best Practices Mission" Delegation, Grand Marais, MN – 4/15/24 – Visit Cook County, the official tourism authority for Cook County, Minnesota, welcomed a delegation of tourism professionals from Northern Ontario for a knowledge-sharing program titled "Destination Northern Ontario Best Practices Mission." This initiative focused on fostering collaboration and discussing successful strategies for attracting visitors to both regions.

Learning from Leaders in Tourism: Presentations were held at the North Point Youth Center, the group was welcomed by owners Brooke and Brad Shannon. The program featured insightful presentations from local experts within the Cook County tourism landscape.Linda Jurek, Executive Director of Visit Cook County and the Cook County Chamber of Commerce opened with a presentation on the impact of tourism in northeastern MN and the organizational history of both organizations.

Focus on Small Business Growth: Theresa Bajda, Executive Director of the Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA), presented on the organization's innovative programs and resources designed to empower and support new and existing small businesses. Her insights highlighted how Cook County actively fosters a thriving entrepreneurial environment, attracting visitors seeking unique local experiences.


Theresa Bajda-Best Practices Mission             Linda Jurek- Best Practices Mission

                            Theresa Bajda Presentation                                                 Linda Jurek Speaking about New City Hall Plans


The Power of Cultural Immersion: Thomas Morse, representing the renowned North House Folk School, showcased the school's significant impact on the local economy. He detailed how North House's immersive craft and traditional skills workshops attract visitors from across North America, enriching cultural exchange and driving tourism revenue.

Exploring Cook County's Charm: Beyond the informative sessions, the delegation embarked on a tour of Grand Marais, a captivating town nestled on the shores of majestic Lake Superior. They also had the opportunity to experience the unique offerings of North House Folk School firsthand, gaining a deeper understanding of the elements that draw tourists to Cook County.

North House Folk School- Best Practices Mission

Overview of Blacksmith Workshop

Open Dialogue and Building Bridges: The program culminated in a Meet and Greet lunch at the beloved local restaurant, Fisherman's Daughter owned by Katie and Parker Slanga. Here, the "Destination Northern Ontario Best Practices Mission" delegation engaged in open dialogue with Mayor Tracy Benson of Grand Marais and Commissioner Ann Sullivan of Cook County. This insightful Q&A session fostered a spirit of collaboration and strengthened connections between the two regions, paving the way for future knowledge exchange and mutual tourism growth.

Angel Schinze- Best Practices Mission