Tourism Works

With the economy on a steady rise, city and state governments are coming to understand that visitors (and the dollars they spend) play an important role in that economic recovery. Both at last month’s Explore Minnesota tourism conference, as well as the recent Meet Minneapolis Annual Meeting, the message was clear: Investment in marketing to tourists and business groups to travel to our state is money well spent. Both Minneapolis and Minnesota would like to do more in order to not fall behind other states and cities.

Mayor R.T. Rybak speaks at the recent
2013 Meet Minneapolis Annual Meeting.
Photo courtesy of Meet Minneapolis

The average traveler to Minneapolis is most likely to be older than 35 (73 percent) and likely to have traveled by car for an average of 311 miles one-way (84 percent). What I found most interesting to learn from Meet Minneapolis’ visitor profile was that it is not likely that families visit the big city; only 15 percent of Minneapolis visitors travel with children, which is much likely very different than the tourist demographics found in other parts of the state. Nevertheless, as tourism, and the economy as a whole, recovers we need to ensure that we are attracting our share of visitors. At its annual meeting, Meet Minneapolis also pushed to increase funding for their marketing efforts, in order remain on par with similar cities, such as Indianapolis.

Now is the time to invest. OK, there it is. I’ve made my pitch, perhaps more than once. Yet, as a travel blogger who thinks his adopted state has much to offer, I think it’s a shame to fail to get our message out to prospective travelers. That, and it’s a good investment of tax dollars when you figure that every dollar invested in state tourism generates $84 in spending by travelers. During this legislative season, Explore Minnesota also is continuing to make its pitch for more state funding as well. They’ve put together this nice video titled Tourism Works that includes interviews with travel and business leaders who share their thoughts about the value of tourism. I think it also highlights a few areas worth visiting. My favorite quote from the video about Minnesota: “Easy to get to; hard to leave.”