Tourism Promotion

University of Wisconsin - River Falls

Dec. 5, 1997

Wisconsin, Minnesota Approve Grants for St. Croix River Tourism Promotion

A tourism promotional campaign that will target bringing more visitors to the St. Croix Valley this winter has received over $30,000 in matching funds from the Wisconsin and Minnesota tourism departments.

A total of $31,796 has been granted to the St. Croix Valley Regional Tourism Alliance for its "Seasons in the Scenic St. Croix Valley" visitors campaign.

The Alliance includes 19 communities in six counties that span the Lower St. Croix National Scenic Riverway.

Minnesota communities from Dakota, Washington and Chisago counties include Hastings, Afton, Bayport, Lakeland, Lake Elmo, Stillwater, Marine on St. Croix, Oak Park Heights, Scandia, Center City and St. Croix Falls.

Wisconsin communities from Pierce, Polk and St. Croix counties include Prescott, River Falls, Hudson, Somerset, New Richmond, Dresser, Osceola and St. Croix Falls.

"We're extremely pleased that both state tourism departments continue to see the value of our promotional activities and have supported us financially in these efforts," said Carol Sudheimer, Alliance president and a member of the Afton Business Association.

The grants mark the second straight year the two states have provided funding for the project. Their contribution marks the only joint funding between the two states to a regional bi-state organization.

The funding and the success of the 1997 program has led the Alliance to double the size of its 1998 campaign, according to Mark Kinders, Alliance marketing committee chair, and public affairs director at UW-River Falls.

"Last year we produced 25,000 packets and anticipated a six-month campaign. The demand was so great, however, that they were distributed within 10 weeks," Kinders noted.

The packet includes a four-color descriptive map of the communities and visitors amenities in the St. Croix Valley, as well as a discount coupon book. Discounts include such businesses as restaurants, lodging establishments, Bed & Breakfast establishments, arts galleries, marinas, specialty stores, railroad tours and entertainment.

This year some 50,000 packets will be produced and distributed in Iowa, Kansas, and the Dakotas through a newspaper and magazine advertising campaign, as well as through a direct mail campaign.

Packets also will be distributed through the Minnesota Office of Tourism booth at vacation shows in Des Moines and Minneapolis. A new component to the 1998 campaign will be distribution through the Office's Minnesota Store at the Mall of America.

Potential visitors also will be able to request the packet through the Alliance's award-winning World Wide Web site at: http://www.uwrf.edu/scvrta or by calling the Alliance at 1-800-440-5667.

The two state agency grants include funding to assist the Alliance and UW-River Falls to update a massive "ASK US" database of visitors amenities that can be found at the site. The searchable database provides additional assistance to visitors who seek to plan their vacations to the Valley, with tens of thousands of visitors accessing it since its launch in July 1996.

Last year's promotional campaign and the use of the Web site led to national recognition by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education with the awarding of a Silver Medal to the Alliance and UW-RF for economic development initiatives.

Businesses that would like to participate in the coupon book campaign can contact Kinders for more information at 715/425-3771 or 1-800-228-5451.



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