Rochester stays smart in economic recovery


Compared to other Minnesota cities, Rochester appears better positioned than most to ride out the current economic downturn. 

As a home to both IBM and Mayo Clinic, the city attracts an educated and relatively affluent pool of workers and also plays host to the thousands of annual visitors who come to do business with the two organizations. Mayo especially has a reputation for not only drawing in the best and brightest across the many fields of medicine, but also the thousands of patients who come from far and wide every year to receive the clinic’s top of the line care.

Now Rochester aims to expand on this base and become a major hub for the ever-expanding medical tourism industry. The local Chamber of Commerce has initiated a program to further develop the city’s downtown and draw more visitors to the area. Planners hope to have foundations in place this summer; no definite plans have yet been cemented, though officials are likely to focus on building up the area’s dining and entertainment options. This expansion would also likely include upgrades to the city’s public transportation infrastructure.

The ultimate goal, according to the Chamber, is to allow medical tourists and their families to pass their time in Rochester more comfortably and fill the time between appointments with a variety of leisure activities. The obvious benefit to the city is that a large influx of visitors, especially those who can afford to travel internationally for medical treatment, has the potential to generate great revenue.

Amid statewide budget cuts in this difficult economic climate, Rochester is smartly using the resources at its disposal to draw in more outside money and use that cash flow to improve the lives of the city’s residents.