Minneapolis Visitors Up 6.1% to 26.8M in 2011

A Meet Minneapolis-commissioned study also found that those 26.8 million visitors collectively spent more than $6.5 billion when they visited the area last year.

Approximately 26.8 million convention and leisure travelers visited Minneapolis in 2011—representing a 6.1 percent increase over 2010, according to a study commissioned by Meet Minneapolis, the city’s convention and visitors’ association.

Last year’s visitors collectively spent more than $6.5 billion dollars in the area, roughly 10.2 percent more than was spent by those who visited the city in 2010.

Leisure travelers alone numbered about 19.5 million in 2011, up 6.1 percent from the prior year. Leisure spending, meanwhile, jumped 11.4 percent to almost $4.5 billion.

“The efforts to make the city clean, eco-focused, and welcoming to visitors by providing an excellent mix of entertainment, sports, music, outdoor activities, and more are clearly making a difference, and visitors are coming to see for themselves,” Melvin Tennant, president and CEO of Meet Minneapolis, said in a statement. “Additionally, the work of Meet Minneapolis to attract convention business for the city has been steadily gaining traction, and our new visitor counts prove that people want to come to this city.”

Minneapolis’ 26.8 million visitors came in behind Chicago’s 2011 tally of 42.4 million. Dallas, meanwhile, had about 26.9 million visitors—giving it a slight edge over Minneapolis. However, Minneapolis had more visitors than St. Louis (21.5 million), Indianapolis (18 million), Kansas City (16.5 million), Washington, D.C. (15.5 million), and Denver (12.7 million).

Visitor figures for those cities were made public but were not part of the same study commissioned by Minneapolis. The study of Minneapolis visitors 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. In October, the organization unveiled a new brand, tagline, logo, and website. The new brand revolves around the theme “Metropolitan by Nature,” although the logo includes the tagline “City by Nature.”