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Minnesota resort owners seeing more business than expected this summer

Explore Minnesota says resorts have been the silver lining for the tourism industry.

When it comes to summer vacation, northern Minnesota resorts seem to be a popular choice during the pandemic.

"That has been a blessing that we have never expected," said Kim Leonhardt, owner of High Banks Resort in Deer River.

She has been getting a good amount of customers so far this season. Many of those guest are people who normally cross the border into Canada.

"We're gaining those guests," said Leonhardt.

The same can be said for Mark Ludlow with Ludlow's Island Resort on Lake Vermillion.

"We're enjoying much better business than expected," said Ludlow. 

"Definitely are pleasantly surprised that people are anxious to get out and they're anxious to explore things in their own backyard," said Explore Minnesota Director John Edman.

He says he's hearing positive news from most Minnesota Resorts despite Governor Tim Walz's latest executive order still discouraging people to engage in necessary travel.

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Resort owners say they're doing everything they can to keep customers safe.

That includes social distancing, masks, some are asking people to bring their own bedding, and of course extensive cleaning.

"Twenty-two sanitation stations with hand sanitizer," said Ludlow.

"Five-page checklist with touch points that our cleaning staff is utilizing for each and every cabin with every changeover," said Leonhardt. 

No question it's been a tough year for Minnesota's tourism industry. Edman says hotel occupancy in the state is at an all time low.

Resorts have been the silver lining so far.

"I guess this year, that is our good news," said Edman.

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