Minnesota Tourism: A Summer of Growth Amanda Wagner, '12 M.B.C. August 5, 2013 With so much to see and do throughout the state, Minnesota tourism is heating up along with the temperatures this summer. Those who live here know about all this great state has to offer – everything from theater and shopping to outdoor adventure and music. “Minnesota is an affordable destination and a close-to-home getaway for our target markets, which appeals to budget-conscious travelers,” said John Edman, director of Explore Minnesota Tourism.Travel and tourism have a significant impact on the local economy, affecting every county in the state. Tourism is an $11.9 billion industry in Minnesota, a key sector of the state’s economy. The leisure and hospitality industry, a major provider of tourism services, employs almost 240,000, representing 11 percent of private sector employment. Leisure and hospitality also generate 17 percent of state sales tax revenues.With so many destinations to choose from – cabins, resorts, golf, the one and only Mall of America and more – it’s no wonder that Minnesota tourism is thriving and contributing so significantly to the state economy. While the 2013 summer travel season may have started slow due to a never-ending winter, Minnesota lodging businesses are having a very good year. And even higher-than-anticipated gas prices haven’t put a damper on Minnesota travel.It also doesn’t hurt that the Wall Street Journal last week published an “Ultimate Weekend in Minneapolis” calling our city “The Nicest City in America” and noting numerous great activities and restaurants just minutes—or even steps—from St. Thomas’ downtown campus.The Explore Minnesota advertising campaign is underway in several Midwest markets, and visits to the state travel website and highway travel information centers have increased over the past year. What’s more… according to recent research, each dollar spent on Minnesota state tourism advertising generates $84 in spending by visitors. “Communities across the state will benefit from the summer travel season,” noted Edman.