Bilingual tourism initiative launched in Iowa town

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By Teodora Mitov, OurQuadCities.com

Marshalltown, Iowa — The Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce has launched a bilingual tourism identity.

This is the first initiative of its kind in Iowa.

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Dylan Does, the Tourism Director for the chamber was appointed to the position seven months ago and wanted to use his role to expand inclusivity. He began pushing for this bilingual identity.

The new identity is “Meet in Marshalltown” and “Nos Vemos en Marshalltown.” Does said they decided on this name because they commonly hear that people from different cities meet in Marshalltown.

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“We as humans want to feel like we’re supposed to be somewhere or it’s for us. It’s very difficult to feel like an outsider or like ‘well this isn’t for me.’ So we really are hoping as we go Spanish first in that people will feel like ‘this is for me, they prepped for me, they planned for me, they made space for me,’” said Does.

Does created a team of people who worked to help bring this initiative to life. Among this advisory team is America Zaragoza. She said that on top of helping people feel included, this new identity will help bring new businesses to the chamber.

Zaragoza said, “I know a lot of the younger people are bilingual, but if you want to show your parents something that’s going on, you don’t have to go and translate it… and it’s not just going to be that Google translate, it’s going to be how we know it, informally and easy for you to understand.”

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This identity will have a new website, social media, and more to provide the community with information on businesses and events in their native language.

With over 50 dialects spoken in the town, the chamber said that their next step is to work on expanding this initiative to help everyone feel like they’re represented.

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