‘Visit Duluth’ Board Agrees To Much Smaller Sales Role With City

DULUTH, Minn. – Visit Duluth — the city’s top marketing arm since 1935 — has agreed to a much smaller role with the city so it isn’t dissolved altogether.

This comes after the city council recently approved a 2022 tourism marketing contract with Bellmont Partners out of the Twin Cities worth $1.8 million.

The company came out on top after Mayor Emily Larson asked for a first-time Request For Proposals (RFP) process for the city’s next marketing contract.

And while Visit Duluth was voted out, it did come out on top for a separate $400,000 contract to handle the city’s convention, event and sports sales, along with visitor center services.

On Wednesday the board approved to move forward with a three-year contract with the city.

“Visit Duluth brings a strong history of leading convention and event sales and high-quality visitor services. We are excited to continue and enhance these operations through this new destination marketing structure. We are also pleased that the City is expecting to form a tourism industry advisory committee to garner valuable industry input and insights for destination marketing,” said Brianna Vander Heyden, Visit Duluth’s board chair.

It was not clear Wednesday if that $400,000-a-year budget is the final number or how staffing will be affected by current employees who previously sat under a budget around $2 million a year.

Heyden said details are still being worked through with the city, and upon approval of the contract by the city council, a new leadership position will be posted for the revamped Visit Duluth.

The board is encouraging existing staff to apply.

“While this is a change from the past, we anticipate continued success and remain committed to doing our part to drive a strong tourism economy. We would like to thank our partners, community members, and all of our passionate friends who have supported Visit Duluth throughout this process,” Heyden said.

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