With travel demand high, Explore Minnesota markets ‘Dream State’ to lure visitors

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The Minnesota Tourism Promotion Bureau is launching a new marketing campaign to attract visitors to the state.

Explore Minnesota’s annual statewide conference that kicked off Tuesday with a look at struggles since the pandemic began, as well as an optimistic look to 2022.

Lauren Bennett McGinty, who took over as head of Explore Minnesota in November, said tourism is not expected to see pre-pandemic levels this year. However, she noted that greater travel volume is expected this year and the state hopes to attract eager travelers to Minnesota.

“While we don’t expect a full return to pre-pandemic levels until late 2023 or early 2024, we are stepping back and expecting higher travel volume in 2022,” Bennett McGinty said. “Minnesota is a unique four-season destination, and we have a major opportunity to position the state among the top 10 travel destinations. After nearly two years of pandemic restraints, Explore Minnesota is ready to execute a new strategic direction to attract travelers from our state, the country and around the world who are eager to get out, explore and reconnect with people and places they care about the most.

In an effort to attract visitors to the state, Explore Minnesota will launch its new marketing campaign, “dream state,” this spring. The bureau says that in addition to targeting travelers from traditional markets — including border states, Illinois, Nebraska and Colorado — it will further expand its reach this year to include Missouri, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Montana, Wyoming and Utah.

“The last two years have been difficult, but travel demand is on the rise. While we can’t predict anything specific, we can be sure we have plenty of exciting events like the 2022 NCAA Women’s Final Four, 2022 MLS All-Star Game and 3M Open, and plenty of great ideas in place for build a bigger, bolder, brighter future for Minnesota’s tourism industry,” added Bennett McGinty.

Explore Minnesota also took stock of the past year, saying it used more than $3 million in tourism crisis and recovery grants to support hundreds of Minnesota communities.

His fall tourism and hospitality survey also gave insight into how the industry is recovering. While some areas – like business travel – have been slow to recover, others are doing well, like the 39% of leisure and travel businesses that reported being at or above pre-pandemic activity levels.

This survey showed that business activity in the tourism and hospitality industry continues to move in the right direction, but many are still not where they were before the pandemic, particularly in metropolitan areas and southern parts of the state.

Click here to learn more about the Explore Minnesota Tourism conference.

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