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VisitBemidji: Convention, tourism bureau welcomes new director

Denelle Cauble, the new VisitBemidji executive director, looks forward to attracting tourists and conventions to Bemidji. Pioneer Photo/Molly Miron

The many entertainment, educational, shopping and outdoors activities give Bemidji plenty of advantages in attracting visitors, and new VisitBemidji Executive Director Denelle Cauble plans to make the most of local opportunities.

Cauble took over the VisitBemidji director's position after Gayle Quistgard retired Dec. 31. Quistgard had served as VisitBemidji director and the former Bemidji Visitors and Convention Bureau since 1989.

Cauble said her first few weeks as director have been satisfying.

"It's a very warm, welcoming community," she said.

Before coming to Bemidji, Cauble served as director of the Lake of the Woods Area Tourism Bureau in Baudette for the past four years. But she said her experience in the tourism industry goes back to her childhood. Her grandparents built and operated Riverview Resort on Rainy River for many years until her aunt and uncle took over.

"I was raised there in a resort community, so I've been in tourism since I was about 8," she said.

Cauble said the emphasis in the Baudette area was hunting and fishing, but she said she sees many more tourism opportunities in Bemidji.

"There's such a diverse market here," Cauble said. "Every weekend you can be involved in something."

She said Bemidji has a small-town atmosphere with big-city amenities.

Cauble said she toured the Bemidji Regional Event Center last week with BREC Executive Director Bob LeBarron. The VisitBemidji headquarters will move in October to the BREC from the current office in the Tourist Information Center.

BREC will give Bemidji even more advantages as a tourism draw, Cauble said.

"We'll be working hand in hand together, with his expertise with the event center and my expertise on the convention side," she said.

She said Bemidji is already entertaining 2012 convention proposals from Rotary International and Minnesota city planners.

"Organizations typically bid out for conventions two to five years in advance," she said. "I'm very excited to have the opportunity to come to Bemidji and work with the Chamber and Northwest Tourism and the Event Center. All you see is growth all around us."

Cauble has a son, Jared, who is a Bemidji State University student, and a daughter, Madison, a student at Baudette High School.