Lake of the Woods Tourism Testifies at U.S. Senate Hearing

WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 15, 2021

Lake of the Woods Tourism Testifies at U.S. Senate Hearing

It’s not every day a destination marketing organization such as Lake of the Woods Tourism gets the honor to speak about tourism and outdoor recreation before the U.S. Senate.  The topics are important throughout throughout the many cities and counties and for the businesses and residents of Minnesota.

On Tuesday, Lake of the Woods Tourism’s Executive Director, Joe Henry, testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation’s Tourism, Trade and Export Promotion Subcommittee. The hearing was titled “The State of Outdoor Tourism, Recreation and Ecotourism,” and, Lake of the Woods Tourism was asked to testify about tourism and outdoor recreation throughout Minnesota.

senator klobuchar 061521 senate hearingThe hearing took place both in person for some and virtually via WebEx for others.  Minnesota Senator Klobuchar as well as Henry participated virtually.  Klobuchar was actually chairing another committee meeting happening at the same time and was doing a great job of multitasking, stepping into this hearing in an eloquent yet strong manner.

Klobuchar has been a strong supporter of Minnesota as well as the Lake of the Woods area for a number of years.

Henry had the chance provide both written and spoken testimony as well as answer some questions during the hearing, touching on a number of points affecting tourism, hospitality and outdoor recreation throughout Minnesota.

Points brought up and discussed throughout the testimony:

  • The ongoing support of Senator Klobuchar strongly behind tourism and hospitality in the great state of Minnesota is greatly appreciated.
  • Legislation introduced by Senators Klobuchar and Smith of MN called The Remote Recreational Small Business Interruption Program Act would provide forgivable loans to small businesses in exclaves of the contiguous United States near the Canadian border.
  • NW Angle Resorts, businesses, cabin owners and guests have been “cut off” from driving to the Angle since March, 2020.
  • Lake of the Woods Tourism has been working on a two phased approach regarding the Angle.  First, to open the 40 miles of road through Canada.  Second, to secure a forgivable loan program for businesses negatively affected by the pandemic and related border closure.
  • Labor, or lack thereof, is still a threat to businesses across Minnesota.  It is affecting many aspects of business, and certainly the tourism and hospitality industries, in a negative manner.joe henry screenshot from hearing 061521
  • Short term housing is an issue throughout much of Minnesota.  That combined with affordable housing in some markets are big barriers to a healthy workforce.
  • Daycare is also an issue affecting employers and workers.  In some cases, it isn’t available.  In cases with larger companies with multiple shifts, there is only daycare offered during the day.
  • Broadband continues to be an issue in areas.  Reliable and fast broadband levels the playing field with employment, strengthens the workforce and is vital to students taking classes from home.
  • The Outdoor Recreation Task Force was a joint effort created between Explore Minnesota Tourism and the Minnesota DNR.  Recommendations from the task force included…
    • Developing an office of Outdoor Recreation for the State of MN.  There are 13 others in the U.S. currently
  • Increase participation to advance equity, diversity and inclusivity
  • Unite Minnesota’s outdoor recreation community
  • Unify communications amongst Minnesota’s diverse outdoor recreation sector
  • Brand USA is a successful public – private partnership formed under the bipartisan Travel Promotion Act of 2009, charged with promoting the U.S. as a destination to global travelers. As this is an important part of Explore Minnesota’s international promotional campaign, re-authorizing funding by congress is highly desired.


For more information on the senate hearing, including a link to the video recording, click here. For a transcript of Henry’s senate testimony, as prepared, click here.

Media Contact:
Joe Henry
Executive Director, Lake of the Woods Tourism
[email protected]

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