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Minnesota summer tourism up from 2018, optimistic outlook for fall

Summer is Minnesota's biggest tourism season.

For those in the Minnesota tourism industry, 2019’s final numbers are promising, according to a recent report.

Explore Minnesota, the state’s tourism promotion office, released the results of a survey of 300 Minnesota lodging businesses including hotels, campgrounds and resorts Tuesday. Of the respondents, almost half said occupancy was up compared to summer 2018. Just 26 percent reported a decrease in occupancy.

  • 49 percent: Respondents reported occupancy was up in 2019
  • 42 percent: Respondents reported occupancy was up in 2018  

A little more than half of these businesses said their financial health was “stable, but positive” while 29 percent said it was growing.

"These positive results indicate a strong economy and that statewide tourism promotion is helping to bring 73 million visitors to Minnesota every year," said John Edman, director and CEO of Explore Minnesota, in a statement. "From the great outdoors to urban excitement, unique hidden gems and cultural activities, Minnesota offers appealing and affordable getaways for residents and visitors alike."

Summer is Minnesota’s biggest tourism season, accounting for 37 percent of all of the industry’s expenditures. 

Between 2005 and 2017, this industry has grown by more than $5 billion to make a $15.3 billion industry, according to an Explore Minnesota report. In 2017, the metro area accounted for around $10.5 billion of those expenditures. 

MN tourism expenditures by season: 

  • Summer: 37 percent 
  • Fall: 25 percent
  • Winter: 24 percent 
  • Spring: 14 percent 

Some survey respondents were optimistic about the upcoming fall tourism season. Thirty-one percent expected to see increased revenue, while 15 percent expect it to go down. Fall is Minnesota’s second biggest tourism season, accounting for 25 percent of all expenditures, according to Explore Minnesota. 

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