The president of the Minnesota Resort and Campground Association (MRCA) stressed the importance of resort and campground preservation, especially property tax relief, during a presentation earlier this month to the state’s legislators.
Paul Bugbee, owner of Bug-Bee Hive Resort, Paynesville, was speaking at the 20th annual Hospitality Tourism Day at the Capitol, an event where the state’s hospitality industry brings its concerns directly to legislators. Bugbee was bemoaning the 65% erosion of the number of the state’s private campgrounds in the past 38 years.
More than 180 Minnesota restaurateurs, hoteliers and resort and campground operators gathered for the event at the Best Western Kelly Inn in St. Paul March 11, according to Hotel & Motel Management Review.
The event was sponsored by Hospitality Minnesota, which manages the Minnesota Restaurant Association, Minnesota Lodging Association and the MRCAC,
The day started with a briefing from legislative leaders at the hotel, followed by a mass trip to the capitol where attendees met individually or in small groups with their elected representatives.
Bugbee noted that the number of resorts in Minnesota has dropped from 2,527 in 1970 to fewer than 900 in 2007, a 65% decrease.
With rising lakeshore values, it is becoming increasingly difficult for resorts and campgrounds to operate, Bugbee said. In many cases, it is more cost-effective to sell off the property for private development than to run it as a tourism business. This has the consequence of stifling tourism in the state, a $10.5 billion a year business, and depriving future generations the pleasures of a traditional Minnesota vacation, he said.