Minn. tourism shows moderate growth for 4th consecutive year

For the fourth consecutive year, the Minnesota tourism industry saw moderate growth this summer, based on results of a survey by the state's tourism agency, Explore Minnesota.

Business at Minnesota hotels and resorts is nearly back to pre-recession levels, Explore Minnesota Communications Manager Joan Hummel said.

"Hotels and motels, almost half of them reported occupancy was higher this summer," Hummel said.

However, because cold weather extended well into the spring, a slow start to summer hurt outdoor tourism.

Still, across the board, lodging revenue increased eight percent, Hummel said.

"The bigger picture was that this was our fourth summer of continued moderate growth in travel. So that's good news," she said. "Overall, tourism fared pretty well this summer."

Hummel said the Legislature increased the state's marketing budget for tourism by to $14 million from $8.4 million a year.

That bodes well for next year, she said, because the state will be able to launch a big advertising blitz in the spring that could bring more visitors to the state next summer.

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