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Local View: Duluth inviting tourists to 'love it like we do'

From the column: "We continue to be excited about what’s to come. After two long years of limited travel, we’re thrilled to welcome travelers back to Duluth."

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2021 News Tribune file photo — On a visit to Duluth, Taylor Carriere of St. Cloud, Minnesota, takes a selfie near the mouth of the Lester River.

This year brought forth a bold new path for Duluth’s tourism marketing. The city of Duluth came together with Visit Duluth and the agencies Bellmont Partners and Lawrence & Schiller to elevate Duluth and ensure potential visitors view our city as the world-class destination we all know and love.

Our mantra for this year continues to be “partnership, collaboration, and unity.” These words have helped to shape and inform our new strategy and approach.

Here’s what we’ve been up to.

Partnership: Beginning Jan. 1, the city, Bellmont Partners, Lawrence & Schiller, and Visit Duluth’s convention and sports-marketing organization began working together under a single Visit Duluth umbrella brand to focus on bringing new travelers to Duluth and longer trips by all visitors. The team works in collaboration to provide resources and support to the local tourism community, including regular email communication, restaurant and retail alerts to support staffing plans, marketing insights and tips, and outreach. We’ve focused on providing a positive experience for visitors when they arrive, including support for Visit Duluth’s new visitor center, opening soon.

Collaboration: Over the last three months, we’ve connected with many of Duluth’s tourism industry leaders and stakeholders. Our local tourism community is vast, varied, and passionate, with a wealth of knowledge and experience. Their perspectives and ideas have been instrumental in informing our decisions. Stakeholder input began early in the process and included surveys, focus groups, and forums. We continue to seek new opportunities for engagement and participation from local stakeholders, including Duluth Tourism Today, an industry-focused newsletter, and the soon-to-launch Duluth Tourism Advisory Board.

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In February, we formed the Duluth Tourism Collaborative, comprised of the city of Duluth, Visit Duluth, and the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, in partnership with Bellmont Partners and Lawrence & Schiller. This group shares the common goal of promoting the great things our city has to offer visitors. This group will begin to offer regular gatherings for the industry, focused on creating space to learn and collaborate.

And unity: In January, we hit the ground running with fresh content on social media, updates to the Visit Duluth website, and earned media to highlight the many things there are to do throughout our entire city. We also put a focus on the people of Duluth, introducing a “Faces of Duluth” series that highlights the people behind Duluth’s attractions, events, and landmarks. We launched a winter travel campaign, encouraging people to explore Duluth past the traditional peak season. In just over one month, the campaign helped generate $740,459 in tax revenue.

April brought the launch of our new marketing campaign, complete with new logo and refreshed brand look, which reintroduces Duluth to visitors. The campaign, “Love It Like We Do,” features Duluth’s longtime favorites alongside comparatively unknown facets of the city and even some of the hidden gems you can’t find anywhere else. We’re celebrating the things so many visitors know and love about Duluth — our breathtaking lake, nature, the city’s world-class attractions and events, and outdoor recreation — while, at the same time, we’re seeking to showcase Duluth’s many neighborhoods, thriving arts and cultural experiences, dynamic food and beverage scene, rich history and historical sites, and family-friendly activities. We’re inviting visitors to love it like we do.

We continue to be excited about what’s to come. After two long years of limited travel, we’re thrilled to welcome travelers back to Duluth. And as one of the Midwest’s most unique destinations, we’re expecting big things ahead.

Tricia Hobbs is a senior economic developer for the city of Duluth focused on tourism and arts. She is responsible for the coordination of contracts for Bellmont Partners, Lawrence & Schiller, and Visit Duluth. She also serves as a liaison for the local tourism community.

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Tricia Hobbs

Related Topics: LOCAL VIEWTOURISM
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