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Study finds more people are visiting the Twin Cities than ever before

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Tourism in the Twin Cities is growing. Last year, 31.6 million people visited the metro, more than ever before.

That's according to a study commissioned by Meet Minneapolis – an association that promotes and sells Minneapolis as a destination.

The study took a look at people who visited for conventions and leisure and compared the information to last year's numbers. According to the findings, the number of visitors increased by 2 percent. In 2014, there were 30.9 million visitors.

Of those who visited last year, 22.5 million stopped in the Twin Cities for vacation or leisure.

The rise in visitors might have something to do with the area's increased hospitality.

Earlier this year, Meet Minneapolis announced that 2015 was the city's best year in hospitality.

The report looked at things like hotel occupancy, convention center revenue, future hotel room nights booked, and future events and conventions booked.

Numbers beat records set in 2014.

What does this mean?

When people visit, they spend money on food, lodging, activities, etc. So the more people who visit, the more money that comes into the area.

According to the study, visitors spent $7.5 billion in the area in 2015, 1 percent more than the previous year. Those visiting for leisure spent a total of $5.2 billion of that.

More visitors also means more work. The group says travel and tourism supports 33,453 jobs in Minneapolis – 10 percent of the workforce.

Not just the cities

The Twin Cities aren't the only areas that have seen an increase in tourism.

Last year, a survey conducted by Explore Minnesota found that 2015 saw the state's biggest summer for travel since 2008.

Similarly, that survey looked at lodging business growth and finances.

However, Explore Minnesota credited weather as one of the biggest reasons the state saw an increase in tourism last summer.

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