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Twin Cities attracted a record number of visitors in 2014

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A record number of people visited the Twin Cities in 2014, bringing with them a $7.4 billion boost to the metro area's economy.

A study commissioned by Meet Minneapolis has found that there were an estimated 30.9 million visits to the area in 2014, a 5 percent increase on the 29.4 million in 2013 and an "all-time record" for the Twin Cities.

Its figures show that $7.4 billion was spent by these visitors, an increase on the $7.1 billion spent in 2013, and an estimated 22.3 million of people making the trip to Minneapolis-St. Paul were tourists.

"We announced back in January that 2014 was a record year for Minneapolis hospitality," Meet Minneapolis President Melvin Tennant said in a press release. "So, while not surprising, this new data is further evidence of the health of our industry, which supports nearly 33,000 jobs in Minneapolis alone."

Meet Minneapolis said it expects visits to the Twin Cities to increase further in the next two years, and has a goal of attracting 36.8 million people to the area in 2017.

There were indications at the end of last summer that the rest of Minnesota had fared well along with the metro area, with Explore Minnesota reporting a fifth straight-year of summer tourism income growth.

Explore Minnesota said that the state continues to be a draw for tourists from both within and outside of the state.

According to the U.S. Travel Association, one in every nine American jobs depends on travel or tourism, and that the industry has recovered far more quickly than others since the financial crisis, outpacing job growth in the rest of the economy by 37 percent.

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