Business owners planning for more Minnesota-bound tourists this summer

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With plenty of Memorial Day weekend travelers on the road, Minnesota is gearing up for what experts say could be the busiest summer tourism season in six years.

The tourism agency Explore Minnesota tells WCCO business owners see the early spring as an opportunity for a boost in tourism. In its survey of hotels, resort and campground owners, the group found more than half reporting seeing an increase more business and revenue already, compared to April and May 2014.

The Brainerd Dispatch reports the travel and tourism industry brings in more than $35 million per day in the state, accounts for 17 percent of all sales tax revenue, and provides 250,000 jobs.

Explore Minnesota launched a video and Twitter campaign promoting activities #OnlyinMN:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgi5eYrwtmg

AAA estimated 37.2 million Americans will be traveling for Memorial Day, and about 33 million of them will drive.

The Star Tribune reports low gas prices and an improving economy fueled the largest group of Memorial Day travelers in a decade.

Looking for a scenic summer drive? Channel your Huck Finn and go down the Mississippi by car. USA Today named the Great River Road National Scenic Byway as one of the nation's best waterside drives.

The route is actually the nation's longest scenic byway, extending from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico.

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