Council To Vote Monday On Mayor’s Plan To Outsource Duluth’s Tourism Marketing

Monday’s Council meeting will remain virtual, according to Forsman, due to the county's recent spike in COVID cases.

DULUTH, Minn.- At their Monday meeting Duluth City Council is set to discuss Mayor Emily Larson’s plan to put Duluth’s next marketing contract out for bid for the first time since Visit Duluth got the job in 1935, and why the winner went to Minneapolis-based Bellmont Partners — not a local firm.

Mayor Larson says she believes Bellmont Partners is the right choice to promote Duluth to the next level.

This after a new months-long application process that included two local finalists Visit Duluth and the DECC and three firms in Minnesota.

On Sunday Council Vice President Arik Forsman told FOX 21 that at Monday’s meeting, he expects many members of the public to speak.

He said he’s heard feedback from who are not happy the $1.8 million contract is planned to be spent outside the city, not only bypassing Visit Duluth, but also local advertising and marketing agencies from here at home.

“Folks have been reaching out, there’s been a lot of passion about keeping dollars local and I understand that 100%,” said Forsman.

“At the end of the day I think it’s really important for all of us to understand that decisions like these are not made lightly,” he said. “And that ultimately this is just a first step. A contract would have to be developed with any successful entity to move forward.”

Larson has previously told FOX 21 it’s not an uncommon practice to outsource at times, something she says critics within Duluth’s marketing community do themselves with their clients.

Monday’s Council meeting will remain virtual, according to Forsman, due to the county’s recent spike in COVID cases.

He said council leaders will go month-by-month determining whether they return in-person.

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