ST. CLOUD -- As state law makers return to the Capitol following the Easter break, members of the tourism industry are lobbying legislative leaders to help them rebuild the industry.

Rachel Thompson is the Executive Director of Visit Greater St. Cloud and the Public Policy Chair for the Minnesota Association of Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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She says one of their main priorities is making sure the post Labor Day school start remains.

Making sure those families have the ability to get out and travel as many weeks during the summer as they can before school starts is very important not only to the tourism industry but the hospitality industry as well.

Thompson says moving the start of the school year before Labor Day weekend would impact the tourism industry, which is still recovering from the losses brought on by the pandemic.

The travel and tourism industry was hit hard by the pandemic, with a lost of $11.6-billion since January 2020.

Thompson says other key priorities this session include preserving the lodging tax, and advocating for more tourism funding.

She says that funding has a great impact on how they market themselves on a local level.

Those funds can be used as a bid fee to bringing a new event to town, it's marketing dollars to attract new business, it's leisure markets and so much more. It just depends what our community needs us to use it for.

Thompson says both the House and Senate have each allocated funds for the tourism industry, but an agreement hasn't been finalized.

 

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