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Ventura Promotes Tourism, Makes Soap Opera Debut
By Mark Zdechlik
June 14, 2000
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Governor Jesse Ventura adds soap-opera acting to his varied list of experiences. Ventura, who's in California this week, will be taping an episode of The Young and the Restless. Earlier, the governor focused on promoting Minnesota tourism and announced preliminary plans for another foreign visit.
Governor Ventura says his favorite soap opera is The Young and the Restless. So he's making a special appearance on the show during his tour. MPR's Lorna Benson provides a preview of the show with Duke and Diva of Soap City. Listen .

GOVERNOR VENTURA GAVE INITIAL ACCEPTANCE to an invitation to help represent the nation's tourism industry at a major international trade fair in Berlin in March 2002.

American Tours International is one of the nation's largest so-called Visit America travel arrangers. CEO Noel Irwin Hentschel says her Los Angeles-based company brings about one million foreign travelers to the U.S. every year. She says Ventura is remarkably positioned to boost foreign travel to Minnesota and to the entire United States.

Sitting before a crowd of reporters at a conference room table in ATI's Los Angeles headquarters building, Ventura announced a joint marketing agreement between the state of Minnesota and the travel arrangement giant. It'll begin in 2001 with ATI featuring Minnesota attractions in its online and in print publications.

Minnesota will pay some of the publication costs, about $12,000 according to the state office of tourism. It appears Minnesota will get the exposure largely in exchange for Ventura's pledge to be something of a tourism ambassador for the U.S. industry.

A few hours after the ATI event, Ventura was working a crowd of Los Angeles-based Japanese tour operators.

Many of the people in the room work for the same tour companies Ventura hosted at a reception last fall during his visit to Japan. Ventura walked the group through a slide show first highlighting his trip and then showing off what Minnesota has to offer, from the Capitol building and Cathedral in St. Paul to the Metrodome and sculpture garden in Minneapolis, and from the Mall of America to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Ventura has put on similar presentations in many places and is at ease trumpeting Minnesota attractions. It is trade and tourism his administration seems to be focusing on the most when it comes to economic development.

As Ventura talked tourism in California, he was once again the target of criticism from the Taxpayers' League of Minnesota for his out-of-state travels.

Ventura's spokesman John Wodele defended the trip, saying, excluding security, it will cost taxpayers about $5,000 - money that he says is being well spent.

Ventura has been billing his California trip as a mixture of business and pleasure. It will take a decided turn toward the latter when the governor finds out first-hand what it's like to guest star on your favorite soap opera.

Ventura is taping an episode of The Young and the Restless at CBS' Television City in Los Angeles. The network says the governor will be playing himself on the daytime drama likely appearing in about four scenes on an installment scheduled for broadcast in early July.