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In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, resorts started popping up among Otter Tail County’s wooded hills and 1,048 crystal clear lakes. Those early resorts are responsible for much of the County’s early infrastructure and economic development. Today, tourism and hospitality remain Otter Tail County’s second largest industry. However, resorts are disappearing. Since 1985, over 50% of Otter Tail County’s resorts have closed. Given the cultural and economic significance of resorts in Otter Tail County, it is important to better understand the implications of their decline. The Center for Small Towns worked with the University of MN Extension and Otter Tail County Tourism and Economic Development to survey and interview resort owners to 1) better understand why resorts are closing, 2) examine the economic impact of the declining resort industry in Otter Tail County, and 3) identify strategies for curbing the decline of resorts and/or mediating the impact of their disappearance.
Center for Small Towns
Tourism and Travel
Asche, Kelly; Pesch, Ryan; Erkkila, Daniel; and Leonard, Nicholas, "Business Climate for Resorts in Otter Tail County" (2016). Center for Small Towns. 73.