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Sen. Klobuchar talks tourism in Duluth and Brainerd

Sen.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar met with tourism officials and hospitality business owners Wednesday in Duluth and Brainerd, as she tries to learn more about the challenges and opportunities of tourism in the current economic climate.

Klobuchar, chairwoman of the Senate Subcommittee on Competitiveness, Innovation and Export Promotion, hoped to learn more about the effects of the recession on regional tourism.

In Brainerd, she said many families are cutting back on vacations and are looking for the best value for their dollar, said the Brainerd Dispatch. The tourism industry should promote their deals openly and to more venues across the state or, for that matter, around the world, she said.

She offered this advice: Market internationally, especially in Canada and promote convention centers more, even though people and businesses have been curtailing their travel expenses.

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Klobuchar also said she’s proposing a national organization, which would be supported through passport fees, to promote U.S. tourism.

Mark Innes of Comfort Suites in Baxter said after the forum that having Klobuchar address tourism was a good sign.

“Everyone is scared to travel because they don’t know if they’re going to have a job next week,” said Innes. “People want to get away, and it helps the community when they do.”