The Convention and Visitor's Bureau has a separate board but the chamber director works for both organizations. The CVB's mission is to advertise our town to potential visitors and newcomers. Funding comes from lodging tax and in our town we have only the Super Motel which contributes the tax. With this small budget, the CVB has placed ads in the Explore Minnesota Guide, Southern Minnesota guide, Prairie Water's Guide, Scenic Byway Guide, Senior Perspective, Midwest Living, South Dakota and local newspapers, radio, Facebook and other online ads. With an increase in Chamber membership which would also increase the budget, we would have more money to spend on advertising our city.
Explore Minnesota is our state funded tourism organization. Private businesses can also take advantage of their cooperative advertising opportunities and a free listing on their website for certain businesses, contact the chamber office for more details and help placing your listing. Southern MN Tourism Association is also funded by county contributions while the state organization pays for its office staff in Mankato. A new young SMTA director was just hired, Lisa Havelka. She worked on the Main Street program in Owatonna and then in Northfield. I had a chance to have a long talk with her at the last conference and came away with some great ideas. I've attended their meetings since becoming director and learned a lot about marketing, especially the importance of our online presence. Granite Falls will host the SMTA meeting next May which will be a great opportunity to show off our town. I'm excited about the future of Granite Falls and the part tourism will play in it's development.