New Report Shows Minnesota Tourism Industry Continues to Recover

Art and photo opportunities draw people to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. As one of Minneapolis’ most well-known landmarks, it attracts travelers from all over the country.

“We came for the State Fair and now we’re just sightseeing,” said Peter Hay, while touring the site.

He grew up in Minnesota but now lives in Santa Barbara. Hay took California native Nancy Saltamachio to the Twin Cities.

“It seems like a really exciting and lively area,” said Saltamachio. “I had a kind of pleasant surprise.”

Minnesota’s tourism industry has seen growth this summer. A mid-August survey of 324 hospitality and tourism businesses statewide showed that 81% reported that they are in a growing or stable but positive financial position.

The survey was conducted by Explore Minnesota, Hospitality Minnesota and the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

A view of the Minneapolis skyline from the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden (KSTP).

“We see that, year after year, businesses are coming back a little better,” said Lauren Bennett McGinty, executive director of Explore Minnesota. “There are definitely improvements.”

The survey showed that the highest level of growth occurred in the Twin Cities metro area during the summer of 2022. Sixty-four percent of metro area businesses surveyed reported an increase in revenue compared to summer 2021 , while 42% reported higher income than in the summer. of 2019.

“The growth is really coming from the return of festivals and events this year,” said Bennett McGinty. “And just getting back out there, being with friends and family and seeing some of the things that haven’t been around in the last two years.”

Businesses in the northwestern and central regions of the state also reported more revenue increases than decreases. In the Central region, 48% of businesses surveyed saw more traffic in the summer of 2022 than in 2021. In the Northwest region, 38% of businesses surveyed reported better business this summer compared to last summer. About a third of companies in both regions reported no change.

More than half of the businesses that responded to the survey in the Northeast region reported lower revenue this summer compared to summer 2021.

“Places like the Northeast, Northwest and Central Minnesota had really good years last year when people wanted to get out more, they were looking for cabins, they were looking for outdoor recreation,” said Bennett McGinty. “They actually did very, very well in the last couple of years.”

He added: “We know those numbers are a little bit smaller and maybe not as strong as last year because they’ve already seen some of that growth come back, which is really exciting and I think it means a lot of our other areas that haven’t they had that growth last year now they are starting to reap some of those benefits.”

The Hotel Saint Paul has noticed an increase in overnight stays.

“We’ve definitely seen an increase in the number of returning travelers now that concerts are taking place at the Xcel Center,” said Gerry Goldfarb, general manager of the Hotel Saint Paul. “Obviously the State Fair also brought a lot of people to town who hadn’t been to the State Fair in a while, so it’s exciting overall.”

He told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that the visitors appear to be traveling within a 250- to 500-mile radius.

“More for vacations at home, they’re on a budget and want to drive up from Iowa or down from Duluth,” Goldfarb said. with viking [River] Cruising through downtown this past weekend, we’re starting to see more international travel and more farther states traveling to Minnesota.”

Last weekend, the hotel also hosted seven different wedding groups.

Additionally, Goldfarb explained, “Conventions are slowly starting to come back, we’re excited about that, and next year is projected to look pretty good.”

The Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport is reporting increased travel volumes this summer. In June 2021, 2.4 million passengers were screened. That number increased to 2.8 million passengers in June 2022.

July MSP data showed a year-over-year increase of 100,000 passengers.

“We’re on the right track,” said Bennett McGinty. “I think what we’re doing is looking at this and figuring out how we can sustain this growth and continue to push people here and enjoy all the wonderful things that we have to offer.”

For related stories: Callan Gray Explore Minnesota Minnesota Tourism Twin Cities