Nearly 20 National Travel Journalists Are Spending Three Days in Eau Claire

Nick Meyer, photos by Janae Breunig

As just one part of their stay, visiting travel journalists visited The Local Store to meet some of the area's makers and craftspeople.  
As just one part of their stay, visiting travel journalists visited The Local Store to meet some of the area's makers and craftspeople.  

This week (Sunday–Wednesday) nearly 20 regional and national travel journalists and bloggers are spending three days together in and around Eau Claire on a specially coordinated series of tours through some of our community’s hotels, restaurants, breweries, attractions, retailers, trails, art studios, and more. The event is something the Wisconsin Department of Tourism and their partners have been organizing in different areas in the state for many years – but this is the first time they’ve chosen to bring this highly valuable meetup to our area. To make it all possible, they collaborated with our own local tourism agency Visit Eau Claire to create an ambitious itinerary showing off some of the city's latest developments as well as longtime favorites in our neck of the woods.

These journalists contribute to a variety of travel and lifestyle publications including USA Today, Better Homes and Gardens, Global Traveler, Chicago Tribune, Orbitz Travel, AAA Midwest Traveler, StyleBlueprint, Outdoor Families, and many more. The idea is to create authentic local experiences for these travel tastemakers so they head home inspired to include the Eau Claire area in future coverage of travel destinations, trends, and opportunities. As I’ve written about in recent weeks, the glowing press about the growth in our community continues to pour in – beyond anything we’ve seen in recent decades – and an event like this is likely to amplify that even further in the coming months.

I've been fortunate to spend some time speaking to the group on a couple of occasions during their visit. While my pride for the area was likely apparent, I also stressed that the people who live here every day know there is plenty of work yet to be done. And that’s part of what’s most exciting about our current situation – as small as we are, we’re still very much a place on the rise. Good things are happening all around, yes – but we also know where we fall short, and in many cases someone somewhere is already working on it. There’s still space for new ideas, new people, and new energy. There’s still time to be part of the story. As for what story these national journalists will eventually tell, we’ll have to wait and see. But in the meantime, let’s keep building. And may we never reach the finish line.

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