More than two-thirds of Minnesotans plan to spend at least as much money on leisure travel this year as they did last year, according to the results of a recent survey conducted by the University of Minnesota Tourism Center.
 
Nearly half, or 48 percent, of survey respondents said they plan to spend the same on leisure travel in 2013 as compared to 2012, and 19 percent of respondents plan to boost their spending.
 
That’s good news for the local economy, as a majority of the state’s residents plan to spend their leisure time in Minnesota, the survey found.
 
The Tourism Center conducted its survey between October and December, when more than 800 Minnesota adults provided information via telephone interviews.
 
Ingrid Schneider, director of the Tourism Center, said in a statement that residents boosting spending “is a continued trend in Minnesota and is positive news for the travel and tourism-dependent businesses.”
 
However, the percentages representing both residents whose leisure spending will remain flat and those who plan to spend more dropped year-over-year.
 
The center conducted a similar survey in late 2011, when 54 percent of respondents said that their leisure spending would be flat in 2012, while 24 percent expected to increase spending.
 
Meanwhile, Minnesota is engaging in a serious battle with nearby states, namely South Dakota and Wisconsin, over tourism dollars.
 
Twin Cities Business took an in-depth look at the tourism war in its June cover story, “The Fight for Fun.” And Minnesota appears to have a lot at stake when it comes to vacation territory. According to the University of Minnesota, the tourism industry generates $11.9 billion each year in leisure and hospitality sales in Minnesota, including $769 million in sales tax, and accounts for close to 240,000 jobs.
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