Metro Area Visitors Up 4.1% to 27.9M in 2012

That’s according to a study commissioned by Meet Minneapolis, which also found that those 27.9 million visitors collectively spent $6.9 billion when they came in 2012.

Approximately 27.9 million convention and leisure travelers visited the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area in 2012, representing a 4.1 percent increase over 2011, according to a study commissioned by Meet Minneapolis, the city’s convention and visitors’ association.
The study also found that visitors to the area collectively spent $6.9 billion during last year’s visits, up 5.5 percent as compared to 2011.
Leisure travelers alone numbered about 20.3 million in 2012, representing a 4.1 percent jump as compared to the previous year. And their spending increased 5.7 percent to $4.7 billion.
“This visitor increase is a solid start to meet our goal of bringing in 10 million additional visitors metro-wide from 2011 to 2017,” Meet Minneapolis President and CEO Melvin Tennant said in a statement. “We will achieve this goal by selling and marketing the city of Minneapolis as a premiere destination for conventions, meetings, small groups, and leisure travelers. Perhaps more importantly, this growth will equate to an economic impact of $1.6 billion with the increased visitor spending in our hotels, restaurants, stores, and entertainment venues.”
Minneapolis’ 27.9 million convention and leisure travelers came in behind Chicago’s 42 million and Dallas’ 30 million, although those figures were from 2011. Meet Minneapolis said that the local metro area competes with those two cities for convention business, along with St. Louis, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Denver, New Orleans, and Milwaukee—all of which had fewer than 27.9 million visitors, although the latest data available for most cities in that group was from 2010 or 2011.
The Minneapolis-St. Paul study was conducted by McLean, Virginia-based tourism and travel research company D.K. Shifflet & Associates, Ltd.
Meet Minneapolis is a private, not-for-profit, member-based association that promotes and markets the Minneapolis area as a destination for conventions and meetings.