Twin Cities Tourism Tops Itself Again, Study Finds
For the second-consecutive year, a record number of out-of-towners ventured over to the Twin Cities. According to a report conducted by the industry research firm DK Shifflet and released Monday by Meet Minneapolis, approximately 33 million people visited the Minneapolis/St Paul area last year — a 2.5 percent uptick from 2016’s record mark.
Moreover, the study determined that visitor spending increased to record levels – up 2.6 percent to $7.8 billion last year compared to $7.6 billion in 2016.
“The number of visitors and visitor spending directly supports jobs in the tourism and hospitality industry,” said Melvin Tennant, CEO and president of Meet Minneapolis, in a statement. “Plus, it adds millions of dollars to the city’s economy in tax revenues.”
Tennant noted the travel and hospitality industry supported more than 36,000 jobs in 2017, making that sector the fourth-largest job-generating industry in Minneapolis for the year.
Tennant credited the tourism hike in part to the city’s tourism master plan, developed in 2016 through 12 months of planning, with input from more than 3,000 individual stakeholders. Dubbed Destination Transformation 2030, the plan set a goal of attracting 50 million visitors annually to the metro area by 2030, including expanding winter tourism from 6 million to 11 million visitors. The plan established six subcommittees to work toward eight identified initiatives aimed at achieving those goals.
This effort to boost tourism is unfolding at various levels. Just this week, Meet Minneapolis is working on opportunities to highlight the city’s diverse neighborhoods.
Next year’s tourism report could likely be another record-setter after U.S. Bank Stadium played (or will soon play) host to several major sporting events.
“We are very fortunate in Minneapolis to be enjoying national and international exposure thanks to events such as the Super Bowl, ESPN X Games, upcoming WNBA All-Star Game and next year’s NCAA Men’s Final Four,” said Tennant. “In addition, our vibrant neighborhoods, incredible amenities and transformed infrastructure will continue to attract more and more business and leisure travelers in the months and years to come.”