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Ottertail is site for tourism office

A tourism office promoting Otter Tail County will soon open in Ottertail city, which is centrally located and supports a wide variety of year-round activities that draw visitors to the lakes area.

Wade Mills, President of the Otter Tail Country Tourism Association, and Jane Aschnewitz attended the April 3 Ottertail city council meeting to discuss their plans with the council. Highlights of their presentation included the announcement of the new office and the report that the association's website is up and running.

Otter Tail Country Tourism accepted a proposal from Century 21 which allowed them, free of charge, to open a tourism office in the city of Ottertail. The office will be located in the Century 21 Vista office in the Carr's office complex on Highway 78.

The stated purpose of the office is to support visitors and members full-time, year-round. The proposal, from Aschnewitz and Century 21's Alan Olson, recommends that Otter Tail Country Tourism establish a full-time office and staff it six days a week.

Staff duties, as stated, will include answering e-mails, phone calls, and U.S. mail in a timely manner; meeting the public face to face; keeping information racks full in the county; making deposits; attending sports shows; and being responsible for membership.

"One of the reasons we felt that this office would be so important to have is because it is located in Otter Tail Country, in Otter Tail County," reported Aschnewitz to the Ottertail city council.

She continued, "I think the founders of this organization had it in mind that the office would be located here in Ottertail city, because that's where they put their post office box."

Councilman Don Patrick expressed his appreciation of the collaboration between the association and Century 21, telling Mills and Aschnewitz, "I think it's a benefit to Ottertail to have your office in our community."

The only costs the association will incur with the new office are their long distance phone bill and paper. Century 21 Vista will provide the following services: telephone, fax machine, color printer, copier, office space, receptionist, conference room, file space, furniture, DSL, and all utilities.

New website tracks hits

President Mills shared about the association's new website which was recently finished. "We're already gaining a phenomenal amount of information from the website," said Mills, referring to a tracking device the site is equipped with.

This tracking device allows the association to determine how people were directed to the tourism website. Mills said that they are able to track where every hit comes from, giving them a much better idea of where they should focus more effort on attracting visitors.

Ottertail Mayor Raymond "Ole" Mounts thanked Mills and Aschnewitz for all of their work and encouraged the association to continue to update the council on what's going on.