Super Bowl LII

Twin Cities sets new tourism record

An ambulance cuts through a thick afternoon crowd on Thursday.
An ambulance cuts through a thick afternoon crowd on the first day of the Minnesota State Fair on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017.
Evan Frost | MPR News 2017

Twin Cities tourism set a record last year. More than 33 million people visited the metro area in 2017, up 2.5 percent from the year before.

Meet Minneapolis, the non-profit that promotes the area as a destination, on Monday released the survey conducted by DK Shifflet. In the survey, a visitor is defined by someone who travels 100 miles or more to reach the Twin Cities.

The research found tourism-related spending also reached a record, growing 2.6 percent to $7.8 billion last year.

Both total spending and visits have risen by nearly one-third since 2010.

"The numbers tell a compelling story about tourism and the economy for Minneapolis and St. Paul," said Meet Minneapolis President and CEO Melvin Tennant. "Our travel and hospitality industry supported more than 36,000 jobs in Minneapolis in 2017. That's the fourth-largest industry, in terms of jobs, in Minneapolis."

The results do not include the impact of Super Bowl LII, because that took place in February of this year.

The city of Minneapolis has a goal to attract 50 million annual visitors by 2030.

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