(Minneapolis, MN) -- Minnesota's tourism promotion office is looking to bring more people to the state after a pandemic slump in travel numbers.
The theme of the meeting became clear early, as Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said "Tourism businesses have faced tremendous challenges throughout the pandemic – yet they have remained steadfast in helping Minnesotans and visitors enjoy the beauty of our state."
Walz says the state has suffered heavily from pandemic losses. More than $12B of expected income evaporated due to travel spending losses since in January of 2020.
Minnesota State Tourism Director Lauren Bennett McGinty had an optimistic view of the future,"The last two years have been challenging, but demand for travel is on the rise. While we can't forecast anything specific, we can be confident that we have a lot 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 to build a bigger, bolder and brighter future for Minnesota's tourism industry."
McGinty did temper the excitement, saying the state's tourism industry will likely not recover fully until late 2023 or early 2024. A survey of leisure businesses in the state says 39% of them were at or above pre-pandemic business levels.