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Back on the board:  Jean Bowman, the executive director of Visit Fergus Falls, will serve another term on the state tourism board after being appointed by Gov. Tim Walz.

Jean Bowman, the executive director of Visit Fergus Falls, has been appointed to the Explore Minnesota Tourism Council by Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan.

Bowman’s four-year term begins as the Central Tourism Region Representative begins Nov. 25 and expires Jan. 2, 2023.

Bowman was originally appointed to the Explore Minnesota Tourism Council by Gov. Mark Dayton in 2015. She served her term and reapplied for last spring after Walz took office. She heard of her reappointment shortly after Fergus Falls hosted the Governor’s Deer Hunting Opener Nov. 7-9.

“It’s definitely an honor to be selected by the governor to serve,” Bowman said.

Bowman is no stranger to tourism work. She works with the Otter Tail Lakes Country Tourism Association and is treasurer of the Minnesota Heartland Tourism Association.

Her work has given Bowman a deep appreciation of the important role tourism plays in Minnesota’s economic health. It is an $18.1 billion dollar business which supported 293,000 jobs.

Walz was recently in Fergus Falls for the annual Governor’s Deer Hunting Opener. During his visit to Fergus Falls the governor got a chance to tour the Fergus Falls community and see some of the work the chamber director had done.

Bowman was both surprised and pleased to receive a note from Walz after the visit expressing his appreciation for the good work she put in to make the deer opener a success.

“I showed it to the mayor (Fergus Falls Mayor Ben Schierer) and asked him if it was really his writing and he said ‘Yep, that’s it,” laughed Bowman.

Bowman joins a group of 28 other appointees on the Explore Minnesota Tourism Council. Bowman said she is “in good company” because of the wide range of experience the assembled group brings to the table.

The function of the 15-year-old council is to serve the broader interests of tourism in Minnesota by promoting activities that support the state’s domestic and international travel market. The goal is to generate visitor expenditures, tax revenue and employment for Minnesota.

Bowman will be in St. Paul for the council’s Dec. 3 meeting. During the next four years Bowman said her focus as a member of the council will be in doing what is best for Minnesota.

“We’ll be talking about the new strategic plan, tourism research and trends, our position with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and we’ll be taking a look at what is on the legislative agenda for tourism,” Bowman said.

Walz is already slated to return to Otter Tail County in May 2020 for the Governor’s Fishing Opener so Bowman will quickly have another chance to be in the spotlight.

Yet despite the personal note from Walz and the appointment Bowman joked on Thursday, “I don’t have the governor on speed dial.”

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