Tourism jobs on the rise in Otter Tail County
The number of jobs related to leisure and hospitality is expected to increase in Otter Tail County over the next eight years.
That’s good news for economic development leaders and county residents in general.
As a county known for its 1,000 lakes, this area of west central Minnesota is luring retirees who want to live year-round in Otter Tail County. Resort owners and others promote the county as a tourism destination, not only for the summer months but also for fall, winter and spring.
This and other economic trends were reviewed last Tuesday by representatives of West Central Initiative (WCI). Greg Wagner and Tom McSparron of WCI addressed the County Board of Commissioners at a meeting in Fergus Falls.
“In addition to the tourism industry, we see job growth the next eight years in trade, transportation, utilities, professional and business services, education, and health services,” said Wagner.
WCI is a regional community foundation that serves nine counties in west central Minnesota: Becker, Clay, Douglas, Grant, Otter Tail, Pope, Stevens, Traverse and Wilkin. It invests and helps leverage resources in communities for regional success.
“Success for us means thriving families, communities and businesses,” said McSparron. “It’s all inter-related.”
WCI works with many partners, using the tools of economic development, community development and promoting philanthropy to help people and communities create a better tomorrow for west central Minnesota.
Wagner said the region’s 2012 annual average weekly wage was $655, an increase from $610 the previous year.
Otter Tail County has a population of people aged 65 and up of 21.4 percent. By 2025, that number is expected to increase to 35 percent.
Data comes from the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy.
Tom Hintgen, Otter Tail County Correspondent