Media // News Releases // Press Release

For Immediate Release
State of Minnesota

Media Contact(s):

Alyssa Hayes, Explore Minnesota
O: 651-757-1857 // [email protected]

Erica Wacker, Explore Minnesota
O: 651-757-1862 // [email protected]

Minnesota Tourism Industry Predicts Strong Summer Travel Season

Aerial over North Shore Scenic Byway Tettegouche State Park

North Shore Scenic Byway near Tettegouche State Park

Explore Minnesota Lodging Survey Reveals Positive Outlook

ST. PAUL, Minn. (May 21, 2019) — After another late start to spring, the summer travel season is shaping up to be a good one for the state's tourism industry. A pre-summer survey of Minnesota lodging businesses revealed a positive outlook for summer travel statewide leading into Memorial Day weekend.

Over 36% of respondents said they expect their summer occupancy to be up, and 43% predict increased revenue compared to summer 2018. By contrast, only 18% of respondents expect occupancy and/or revenue to be down. Overall, 79% of respondents rated their current financial health as growing (23%) or stable, but positive (56%).

Respondents cited various reasons for their positive summer outlook, including: the number of existing reservations for this season; a good economy; their own marketing efforts; and social media inspiration. Some also noted several last-minute bookings and younger travelers seeking new and unique travel experiences. Campground operators were especially upbeat, citing increased interest in camping as a popular alternative accommodation.

"We are very happy to hear that Minnesota's lodging industry is expecting another strong summer," said John Edman, director/CEO of Explore Minnesota. "Travelers are excited to get out and discover new and unique experiences across the state this season."

The survey was completed by 222 Minnesota lodging businesses, including hotels and motels, resorts, bed-and-breakfasts, campgrounds and vacation home rentals.

The survey also addressed lodging business challenges, including the long winter and late start to spring. While 24% reported that spring occupancy was up and 29% noted spring revenue was up, 31% reported spring occupancy and/or revenue were down.

Workforce shortage was also reported as a common challenge; properties noted the struggle to find and retain employees. Numerous respondents shared concerns related to increased room supply in their area, either from traditional (i.e., hotel) properties or an increase in the number of private rentals available.

National Travel Trends

The overall positive outlook for Minnesota's summer travel season is in line with national trends. AAA projects that nearly 43 million Americans will travel over Memorial Day weekend alone and 88% will drive to their destination, despite a recent rise in fuel prices. The extended holiday weekend will see the highest travel volume on record since 2005.

"Thanks to Minnesota's thousands of lodging options, more than 10,000 lakes, 500 golf courses, 4,000 miles of bike trails, top-notch parks, festivals, attractions and more, summer in Minnesota accounts for 37% of travel expenditures. 2019 has been, and will continue to be, a strong year for Minnesota's $15.3 billion tourism industry," said Edman.

Find Your True North #OnlyinMN This Summer

Earlier this spring, Explore Minnesota launched the all-new Find Your True North marketing campaign that features an all-new series of television, print and digital ads in Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and across Minnesota. Additional target markets include Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, Omaha and Winnipeg. The campaign also brings Minnesota to a national audience with hyper-focused online targeting to reach people who are passionate about hiking, biking, and arts and culture, and are willing to travel to find new experiences.

The new campaign leverages a larger movement in the North Star State. In the same way the South, Southwest and Pacific Northwest all mean something distinct, Explore Minnesota aims to help make the "North" less of a direction and more of a state of mind.

True North is an evolution Explore Minnesota's award-winning #OnlyinMN strategy. To date, the popular #OnlyinMN campaign hashtag has been used more than 1 million times and is a travel inspiration tool on its own.

About Explore Minnesota

As the state's tourism promotion office, Explore Minnesota pursues an entrepreneurial approach, leveraging the state's tourism investment with increased involvement by the private sector. Tourism is a $15.3 billion industry in Minnesota, and a key sector of the state's economy. The leisure and hospitality industry–a major provider of tourism services–employs more than 270,000 workers, representing 11 percent of Minnesota's private sector employment. Leisure and hospitality also generates 18 percent of the state's sales tax revenues. Minnesota welcomes more than 73 million domestic and international travelers annually.

A video highlighting Minnesota's tourism and economic impact can be viewed here.

Find Your True North at, and share it with @exploreminn on Twitter, or @exploreminnesota on Instagram and Facebook, using #OnlyinMN.