Visit Cook County receives record-breaking three awards during Explore Minnesota annual conference

Visit Cook County receives record-breaking three awards during Explore Minnesota annual conference

 

Feb. 1, 2017-St. Paul, Minn.-Visit Cook County, the tourism organization for Grand Marais, Minn. and surrounding communities, walked away from the Explore Minnesota annual conference last night with a record-breaking three awards. No organization has previously received that many awards during one conference. The awards were for Linda Jurek, VCC executive director, who was named a rising star, and for two VCC-created events: the Lutsen 99er, an extreme 99-mile bike race that occurs on Lutsen Mountains every June, and Storm Fest, a November celebration of the might of Lake Superior.

 

“I give a lot of credit to my team,” says Kratt. “My staff is extremely creative and hard-working. And our partnership with marketing firm Giant Voices in Duluth and LIN Public Relations in the Twin Cities has been extremely productive.

 

VCC nominator Pascha Apter, CEO of Giant Voices, says “Working with Visit Cook County is truly enjoyable. We have the good fortune of marketing one of the most beautiful tourism destinations in the world, and we have gotten some tremendous results during the past three years.”

 

About Visit Cook County

Visit Cook County encompasses the northeastern Minnesota communities of Lutsen, Tofte, Schroeder, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail and Grand Portage, commonly referred to as “the Arrowhead” and the “North Shore of Lake Superior”.  Cook County, Minn. has earned numerous accolades recently including “2015 Coolest Small Town in America” contest by Budget Travel and “The 16 Best Places to Live in the U.S. 2016” list by Outside Magazine. Visit Cook County invites visitors to rekindle their sense of adventure by exploring the Superior National Forest, paddling through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and discovering the Lake Superior watershed basin. Be inspired by connecting on social media using #visitcc, Twitter @CookCoVisitors, Facebook, or Instagram @donorthmn. Discover more at www.visitcookcounty.com or by downloading the Visit Cook County mobile app.

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Tourism Industry Achievements Highlighted at
Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference

ST. PAUL, Minn. (Feb. 1, 2017) —During the 2017 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference, held at the InterContinental Saint Paul Riverfront hotel this week, several individuals, organizations and tourism businesses were recognized at the annual Excellence in Tourism Awards banquet for their contributions to the state’s $14.4 billion travel industry.

Steve Markuson, director of Twin Cities Gateway, was named “Outstanding Individual in Tourism” for his long-term work on behalf of the Minnesota tourism industry. During his career, Markuson has served in numerous public and private tourism capacities including positions with Northwest Airlines and several positions with Explore Minnesota, including being appointed director in 1995. More recently, he has been extensively involved with the Minnesota Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus and the metro tourism committee.

Linda Jurek, executive director of Visit Cook County, was named “Rising Star” for her strong work in promoting the area.

Additional awards presented were:

Attraction of the Year:

•Award of Excellence: Glensheen, Duluth

•Award of Merit: Fagen Fighters WWII Museum, Granite Falls

•Award of Merit: SPAM® Museum of Austin

 

Event of the Year:

•Award of Excellence: Lutsen99er, Cook County

•Award of Merit: Lake Superior Storm Festival, Cook County

•Award of Merit: Middle River Goose Festival, Middle River

 

Marketing Awards of Excellence:

•Minne-Roadtrip: Multi-community branding effort featuring Faribault, Owatonna and Northfield

•Otter Tail Lakes Country Tourism Association: Video marketing campaign

•Visit Bemidji: New website

•Visit Winona: Branding effort featuring videos

New this year, the Minnesota Signature Award was presented to TBEX (the world’s largest gathering of travel bloggers, writers, new media content creators, and social media-savvy travel industry professionals) and the Ryder Cup of Minnesota (a biennial golf competition between teams from the United States and Europe) for the broad coalitions they brought together, significant travel dollars generated to the state of Minnesota, and the substantial national and international media exposure these events generated.

The annual tourism conference attracted more than 350 attendees from around the state, including representatives of convention and visitors bureaus and other tourism promotion organizations; hotels, resorts and campgrounds; and a variety of attractions, such as museums, parks, zoos, malls and historic sites. Conference highlights included: a state tourism report from Explore Minnesota Director/CEO John Edman; remarks on the importance of tourism from Lt. Gov. Tina Smith; insights from the National Association of Sports Commission (NASC) about the economic impact of events; and more.

About Explore Minnesota
As the state’s tourism promotion office, Explore Minnesota pursues an entrepreneurial approach, leveraging the state’s tourism investment with increased involvement by the private sector. A council of representatives from the state’s tourism industry strongly connects Explore Minnesota with tourism businesses and organizations. Tourism is a $14.4 billion industry in Minnesota, and a key sector of the state’s economy. The leisure and hospitality industry—a major provider of tourism services—employs nearly 260,000 workers, representing 11 percent of Minnesota’s private sector employment. Leisure and hospitality also generates 17 percent of the state’s sales tax revenues. Minnesota welcomes nearly 70 million domestic and international travelers annually.

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Kjersti Vick kjersti@visitcookcounty.com 218-387-2788

Perfect spring break destination: Prime Conditions Predicted for Weekend of Winter Fun in Tofte and Gunflint Trail March 11 – 12

Perfect spring break destination:

 

Prime Conditions Predicted for Weekend of Winter Fun in Tofte and Gunflint Trail March 11 – 12

 

Cook County, Minn. – Feb. 17, 2017 – There is more fun to be had this winter at a brand-new event, The Sugar Tour at Oberg Trailhead in Tofte, Minn. and up the road at the Dog Days of Winter Fun at Trail Center on the Gunflint Trail Saturday-Sunday, March 11 – 12, 2017.  The weekend is packed full of fun winter activities, including: cross-country ski challenges, sled dog derbies, skijoring, a snowman competition, a bonfire and more.

 

“March is an exciting month to celebrate longer days, prime snow conditions and warm sunshine,” says Executive Director of Visit Cook County Linda Jurek, “We’re looking forward to welcoming families on spring break who can take advantage of lodging specials offered at this time of year.”

 

The days are getting warmer and the trails are in prime condition to take a sweet cross-country ski challenge at The Sugar Tour on Saturday, March 11, 2017 beginning at 10 a.m.  The event is located on the Sugarbush Trail where there are over 40 miles of cross-country ski trails winding through the remote Forest Service land in the Lutsen-Tofte area.  Children and adults can choose to participate in the 5k, 8k or an 18k loop, with activities on the shorter loops or the personal challenge of skiing the long loop with treats and hot chocolate at the Oberg Trailhead finish around 2 p.m.  Admission to the event is $15 for adults and $10 for ages 14 and under.  Please click on the link to register up until the day of event: https://www.zapevent.com/reg/event/12336.

 

Dog Days of Winter celebrated on March 12

 

Those seeking a day of outdoor activities or simply enjoying the outdoors as a spectator, can head to Dog Days of Winter Fun on Sunday, March 12, 2017 at Trail Center Lodge, located halfway up the Gunflint Trail on Poplar Lake.

Visitors can participate in Sled Dog Derbies, which include an eight-dog, 23-mile run, a six-dog, 12-mile run, and a four-dog, three-mile run.  All derbies start at 11 a.m. on Sunday and cost $20-$40 to register.

 

There will also be Freestyle skijoring (skate skiing or classic skiing) events, including a two-mile and five-mile race open to all experience levels.  Skijoring costs $10-$15, depending on the race and begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday.  Many activities at this event are FREE of charge.

 

Registration is now open for all events listed.  For more information, see:  http://www.visitcookcounty.com/entry/?id=3821

 

Like Dog Days of Winter on Facebook | https://www.facebook.com/Dog-Days-of-Winter-417838185032226/

Twitter | Use #GoDogGunflint

 

About Visit Cook County

Visit Cook County encompasses the northeastern Minnesota communities of Lutsen, Tofte, Schroeder, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail and Grand Portage, commonly referred to as “the Arrowhead” and the “North Shore of Lake Superior”.  Cook County, Minn. has earned numerous accolades recently including “2015 Coolest Small Town in America” contest by Budget Travel and “The 16 Best Places to Live in the U.S. 2016” list by Outside Magazine. Visit Cook County invites visitors to rekindle their sense of adventure by exploring the Superior National Forest, paddling through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and discovering the Lake Superior watershed basin. Be inspired by connecting on social media using #visitcc, Twitter @CookCoVisitors, Facebook, or Instagram @donorthmn. Discover more at www.visitcookcounty.com or by downloading the Visit Cook County mobile app.

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