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Tourism groups join together to promote county

Tornado Cloud, Grand Marais Harbor by Travis Novitsky
Tornado Cloud, Grand Marais Harbor by Travis Novitsky

Six tourism groups have joined together to lead a county-wide effort to market Cook County. The new organization is called the Cook County Visitors Bureau and will become official on May 1.

The new county-wide entity, led by a board with membership from each of the individual tourism areas, will represent all Cook County tourism efforts as well as strengthen the member tourism areas’ individual identities.

The six organizations are Cook County Events and Visitors Bureau, Grand Marais Area Tourism Association, Lutsen-Tofte Tourism Association, Gunflint Trail Association, Grand Portage Tourism, and Lutsen Mountains Ski Area.

According to Sally Nankivell, Executive Director of Lutsen-Tofte Tourism Association and Managing Director of the Cook County Events and Visitors Bureau, the combined effort reflects the need to provide a coordinated marketing approach to attract visitors to Cook County while increasing efficiency and better leveraging budgets and personnel. 

Nankivell said each of the individual tourism entities will stay intact to aid in annual planning, participate in local issues, set priorities, and elect board representation to the new Cook County Visitors Bureau.

According to Charles Skinner, Chair of the Cook County Visitors Bureau, planning for the new county-wide tourism entity has been underway for the past several months, but it only became a reality after each individual tourism group officially voted in favor of the merger.

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