Business on Both Banks

The St. Croix Valley Tourism Alliance helps market six counties.

The St. Croix Valley is quaint and, as such, both adored and overlooked by tourists. Tourism guides Explore Minnesota and Travel Wisconsin highlight state strongholds, while tourism-ready businesses in Marine on St. Croix (Minn.) or Dresser (Wis.), may feel drowned out in the din.

So Polk County (Wis.) hosted a regional tourism conference last fall, where nearly 100 shop owners and restaurateurs networked about social media and formed marketing partnerships. At the heart of the event: the St. Croix Valley Tourism Alliance.

The alliance formed in 1994 over a handshake between Wisconsin and Minnesota governors Tommy Thompson and Arne Carlson, who signed bylaws aboard a paddleboat on the St. Croix River. Rosemary Mansfield, director of the alliance, oversees its mission: to promote and educate about what’s good where the states share a border.

The alliance holds quarterly meetings in Hudson to talk possibilities. “What are new tourism segments we should market?” Mansfield asks. “Bus tours? People on motorcycles?” As residents know, the possibilities are endless.

The next meeting is April 19; all are welcome. Find information on events in the Valley at the website here.