Minnesotans Plan to Spend More on Leisure Travel in ’12

The majority of those who responded to a recent survey plan to spend at least as much on leisure travel this year as they did in 2011, and 24 percent expect to boost spending.

A recent survey suggests that Minnesotans plan to loosen their purse strings and spend more on leisure travel this year.

Seventy-eight percent of Minnesotans plan to spend at least as much on leisure travel this year as they did in 2011, according to a survey conducted by the University of Minnesota Tourism Center. Fifty-four percent of respondents plan to spend the same this year as last, while 24 percent expect to boost spending.

The survey also found that nearly 70 percent of respondents view tourism as “important” to their local economy.

“This demonstrates that travel and tourism-dependent communities and businesses can be optimistic for 2012,” Ingrid Schneider, director of the U's Tourism Center, said in a statement. “Traveler dollars flow through economies at all levels, and tourism attractions and opportunities add to Minnesotans' quality of life.”

More money spent on leisure travel means more spending within the state: According to the U's Tourism Center, a majority of the state's residents spend their leisure time in Minnesota.

The tourism industry generates $11.3 billion annually in leisure and hospitality sales in Minnesota, including $732 million in sales tax, the university said. The industry also accounts for about 250,000 jobs in the state.

The University of Minnesota Tourism Center survey was conducted during the fourth quarter of 2011. More than 800 state residents were surveyed via telephone interviews.