Minnesota tourism officials hope to cash in on Vikings' London trip


The football players have already arrived in Merry Ole England. Now a boatload of tourism officials will sail into London in the Vikings' wake.

Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Wembley Stadium has put the Vikings under a big British spotlight. Tourism officials hope that will kindle more interest in the homeland of these Vikings and eventually lure some pounds and Euros to Minnesota.

The Business Journal reports officials from the state tourism agency and from the visitors bureaus of Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Bloomington are all heading to London. Twin Cities mayors R.T. Rybak and Chris Coleman are also making the trip.

Melvin Tennant, the president and CEO of Meet Minneapolis, tells the Business Journal that British tourists still make ample use of travel agents. That means face time spent bringing those agents up to date on Minnesota's attractions is valuable.

What kinds of things do the Brits hear about Minnesota? Well, a piece that appeared today in the Telegraph reminded them that a river runs through it. The account of three young British men who successfully kayaked the length of the Mississippi includes this tidbit from one: “Being from the UK we saw things during the trip that we’d never seen before, like 20 eagles every day.”

On Sunday Londoners will see two football teams that have combined to win zero of their first six NFL games. But local fans who spoke to ESPN sounded excited about the spectacle of American football and unconcerned about the losing records of the teams playing. With 84,000 tickets gone, the game is virtually sold out.

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