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L'etoile du Nord says 'oui' to woo French vacationers

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The Associated Press reports that the state of Minnesota plans to take a more aggressive run at French tourists. (Sure, they've got the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and the Riviera, but we've got the Spam Museum, the Foshay Tower and Lake Mille Lacs. And the French Meadow restaurant!)

Minnesota's tourism agency is currently seeking vendors to carry out a fresh pitch to French visitors, and will spend up to $45,000 next year to build a marketing presence for the state in France. The efforts will include setting up promotions targeting French tourists and developing a website with an in-country address. Let's be franc--we want their money.

In 2010, the 350th anniversary of the arrival of the first French explorers to the state, the Star Tribune noted Minnesota's French connections that include the words L'etoile du Nord on the state seal and flag to the presence of municipal names, from Roseau to LaCrescent.

An official with Explore Minnesota Tourism says more nonstop flights between France and Minneapolis-St. Paul International makes this an ideal time build a deeper connection. In the coming months, the state tourism office will target vacationers from Mexico and China with similar efforts.

Earlier this year, Gov. Mark Dayton announced the state will establish a trade office in Germany to cement relationships with European trading partners.

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