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Lyon Co. learns about tourism impact, promotion in SW MN

Photo by Deb Gau Marshall CVB Director Lauren Deutz gave Lyon County Commissioners an update on the activities of area tourism associations during Tuesday’s county board meeting.

MARSHALL — Travel and tourism have a big economic impact in Lyon County — over $50 million worth, county commissioners learned Tuesday.

Economic impact figures, including gross sales, sales tax and private sector employment generated by travel and tourism, were part of a short presentation by Marshall Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Lauren Deutz. In 2015, travel and tourism accounted for about $52.2 million in gross sales in Lyon County, as well as $3.36 million in sales tax and 1,307 jobs, according to data from the Minnesota Department of Revenue and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Deutz was at the commissioners’ regular meeting with funding requests to be part of regional tourism associations.

“I currently represent two different tourism associations,” that Lyon County is a member of, Deutz said. The Southern Minnesota Tourism Association includes 36 counties across the southern part of the state. Explore Southwest Minnesota is more local, and represents nine counties, including Lyon, Lincoln, Murray, and Redwood.

Deutz gave an overview of the tourism associations’ activities for commissioners. Both organizations work to draw visitors to the area, she said. Marketing efforts for both groups include producing promotional materials and travel information about southwest Minnesota. Explore Southwest Minnesota “is really where we focus on our hunting,” and other outdoor attractions, Deutz said.

Being part of the tourism organizations also brings the opportunity to learn from other counties and communities. That will be helpful as Lyon County plans for its 150th anniversary celebration in 2020, Deutz said.

“These associations could give us some input on what other cities have done,” she said.

Deutz said she was requesting a total of $2,292.85 in funding to participate in the tourism associations. That total funding amount broke down to $1,292.85 for the Southern Minnesota Tourism Association, and $1,000 for Explore Southwest Minnesota. Each of the nine counties participating in Explore Southwest Minnesota contribute $1,000 per year in funding. The same $9,000 operating budget also covers Hunt Southwest Minnesota, an organization that promotes hunting in the region.

County commissioners approved the $2,292.85 total funding request.

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