Media // News Releases // Press Release

For Immediate Release
State of Minnesota

Media Contact(s):

Explore Minnesota Applauds Passage of Historic Investment in State's Economy

Over $25 million in new funding to elevate our state as a top tier destination was passed by the Minnesota State Legislature and now heads to Governor's Desk to be signed into law

ST. PAUL, MN - Today, Explore Minnesota Executive Director Lauren Bennett McGinty, issued the following statement thanks to the approval of historic investment to elevate our state as a top tier destination and increase the local economic impact of tourism.

"The business of tourism is integral to our state's success and inclusion of this important funding confirms that. This historic investment in Explore Minnesota is long overdue and will allow us to actively expand marketing efforts for Minnesota to national and international travelers and future residents. We are grateful to our partners across the state for recognizing the local economic impact of tourism and look forward to working together to elevate our state as a top tier destination."

Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan are committed to making Minnesota more competitive, more welcoming, and elevate our state as a top destination for national and international travelers. This historic investment from the Walz-Flanagan Administration will commit to three key areas to grow our tourism economy: 

  • Increasing Explore Minnesota's base budget from $14.4 million to $18.3 million in FY24, plus another $746,000 in FY25
    • This is the first base budget increase for Explore Minnesota in over a decade. It will be used to maintain and expand the current level of service delivery at the agency.
  • New Initiatives to Create a Welcoming Experience for All Visitors While Supporting the Local Tourism and Hospitality Economy 
    • The budget allocates one-time funding of $5.5 million in FY24 and $5.5 million in FY25 to support Explore Minnesota's new initiatives to help create a welcoming experience for all visitors while supporting the local tourism and hospitality economy. Some of these initiatives include:
      • $6 million to MN Sports & Events to host the 2024 US Gymnastics Trials, a Governor's Office request
      • $2.2 million to provide grants to our state's 11 federally recognized Tribal Nations
      • $2 million to provide recovery grants to the state's DMOs
    • The remainder will support new marketing efforts focused on more diverse markets and publications
  • Opening Explore Minnesota For Business

With one-time funding of $11 million in FY24, Explore Minnesota will establish Explore Minnesota for Business, a new division within the office committed to talent attraction and supporting the state's economic development efforts. This new branch of Explore Minnesota will position the state as a top market for livability and economic opportunity.

Additionally, funding was added for the following multicultural festivals:

  • Taste of Minnesota
  • Stairstep Foundation Cultural Festivals
  • Ka Joog Cultural Festivals
  • Eshara Cultural Festivals
  • Westside Booster Cultural Festivals
  • Hmong Freedom Festivals Somali Museum Cultural Festivals

Earlier this year, Explore Minnesota released its 2022 Travel Indicators Report that found:

  • Tourism Economics found that in 2022 our state had 77.2 million visitors, who had $13.4 billion direct impact and $23.3 billion indirect impact on our economy and communities.
  • Each household in Minnesota would need to be taxed an additional $993 to replace the visitor-generated taxes received by state and local governments in 2022.
  • According to the Minnesota Department of Revenue, in 2021 Leisure & Hospitality gross sales were $15.7 billion, with sales taxes of $998 million collected.
  • With almost 229 thousand employed in 2021, Leisure & Hospitality is the 4th largest industry for employment in Minnesota. 

If you have questions or concerns about the legislative process, please contact our Government Relations Coordinator, Lyndsey Hanson at [email protected].