People are ready to travel around Minnesota again, albeit cautiously, according to a recent survey by Explore Minnesota, the state's tourism promotion office.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the travel industry hard, with shutdowns keeping many people home since mid-March. But as things slowly start to reopen in Minnesota, people are getting anxious to get back out exploring.
"The tourism industry has been significantly impacted and forever changed in recent months, but these targeted survey results offer a cautious sense of optimism about the future of travel throughout Minnesota," John Edman, Explore Minnesota's state tourism director said in a news release.
"Consumers are anxious to travel, but also concerned about their safety. Travel and tourism businesses across the state are listening and have made visitors' safety a priority, implementing stringent safety protocols including increased sanitization, contactless check-in, staff wearing masks and more," Edman added.
In an effort to get an idea of how Minnesota-oriented travelers are feeling about traveling, Explore Minnesota recently surveyed a random sampling of people who subscribe to its monthly travel e-newsletter subscribers about their upcoming travel plans. A total of 1,371 people responded (6.9 percent), with most people being older and from Minnesota or the Midwest.
Many people who responded to the survey said they're feeling cooped up, but health considerations, like knowing somewhere will be well-sanitized and social-distancing guidelines will be followed, would make them more confident in traveling.
The survey also found that people's top motivators for travel this summer include outdoor experiences and visiting friends and family. However, things like sporting events, concerts and other urban experiences provided less motivation for traveling.
"As more people begin traveling again, Minnesota's bounty of open spaces and outdoor experiences provide welcoming options, and along with increased safety and cleaning measures, will help consumers regain a sense of comfort and normalcy when it comes to exploring the state," Edman said.
Some other highlights from the survey:
- A lot of people had to cancel their planned trips, with 67 percent saying they canceled or postponed one or more leisure trips since the onset of coronavirus restrictions
- A lot of people have plans to take a summer leisure trip – 62.5 percent of people said they have tentative plans and 50 percent have at least tentative plans for a trip this fall
- The trips people do plan to take are mostly road trips that are pretty close to home – 23 percent of people said their next trip will be more than 500 miles from home
- Recent events like the killing of George Floyd have impacted how people are thinking about travel, with 41 percent of those surveyed saying safety considerations will be important as they choose where to go and what to do in Minnesota. Meanwhile, 6 percent said they're less likely to choose Minnesota as a destination and 2 percent said they're now more likely to consider a trip to Minnesota