Minnesota's biggest-ever tourism campaign launches in 14 states, provinces

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Minnesota is casting a wider net in hopes of reeling in more tourists this summer.

State officials say Explore Minnesota's new ad campaign is its biggest tourism initiative. The Associated Press reports four ads featuring the slogan "Only in Minnesota" will reach television airwaves in six states that are new territory for the tourism agency (Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming).

Here's one of the ads:

MPR News notes that altogether stations in 12 states and two Canadian provinces will run the ads. An Explore Minnesota executive tells MPR tourism is currently a $12 billion industry in the state. The agency hopes to turn that into $20 billion by the year 2020.

The Star Tribune reports the campaign also makes use of social media. Tourism officials hope to engage people who are considering a trip to Minnesota. Travelers are also encouraged to send photos from their trips to the hash tag #OnlyinMN. Some will be featured on billboards or recirculated through social media.

The $3.7 million ad campaign makes use of additional money the Legislature approved for tourism promotion. In announcing the campaign, Gov. Mark Dayton's office noted a 65 percent increase in the tourism marketing budget. Says Dayton: "Every dollar we invest in promoting Minnesota tourism brings another $84 of consumer spending into our state's economy."

The ads feature plenty of scenes of Minnesota's woods and lakes. There are also shots of restaurants and urban nightlife, Red Wing's giant boot makes an appearance as does Austin's Spam Museum. Find all of the ads here.

Will the Only in Minnesota campaign go down as one of the best state tourism promotions? That might be a stretch, but it makes us wonder ... what are the most memorable campaigns? A few years ago Forbes asked three travel industry experts to weigh in on that.

We'd take a gamble on their number one choice but it happened somewhere else and apparently it stays there.

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