The Secret is Out; the Bold North is Hot: Minneapolis/St. Paul Sets Visitor Record

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June 17, 2019
Minneapolis (June 17, 2019) – The Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan region welcomed a record 34.5 million visitors in 2018, according to new research released today by Meet Minneapolis, and conducted by DK Shifflet. This represents a healthy 3.7% increase over the number of visitors in 2017. According to the research data, those visitors generated significant economic impact, pumping $8 billion in spending into the region’s economy in 2018, a 3.3% year-over-year increase.

“These serious increases in visitors and visitor spending in the Minneapolis region means we’re moving in the right direction for achieving one of our goals: showing the rest of the world that Minneapolis is a world-class destination,” stated Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. “This is also good news for our economy. The tourism and hospitality industry accounts for close to 36,000 jobs in Minneapolis – the fourth largest driver of jobs in the city by industry – underscoring the role tourism plays in our economic success.”

By many counts, 2018 was a healthy year for the tourism and hospitality industry. The visitor impact on hotels generated a 70.8% occupancy rate for the year, up from 68.5% in 2017. Currently, Minneapolis has 40 hotels that each offer 50 rooms or more, and a total of more than 9,200 hotel rooms. In addition, the number of tourism and hospitality jobs enjoyed a 3% increase in 2018, up more than 1,100 jobs from the year prior.

“We work for the economic benefit of our community,” said Meet Minneapolis President and CEO Melvin Tennant. “Whether it’s a convention at the Minneapolis Convention Center that brings in thousands of attendees, or a marquee sporting event, our goal is to support the economic well-being of our workers and to show off all of our city’s great assets and amenities.”

2018 By the Numbers:
  • 34.5 million total visitors to Minneapolis/St. Paul region in 2018, up from 33.3 million in 2017
  • $8 billion in total visitor spending in 2018, up from $7.8 billion in 2017
  • Visitors also generated more than $8 million in lodging taxes alone for the city of Minneapolis, which helps reduce the property tax burden for residents.
As for what made 2018 stand out, Tennant pointed to the Super Bowl and other large events. The American Legion’s 100th National Convention in August, brought in nearly 10,000 attendees, and the Society of Women Engineers Conference in October, included 12,000 attendees from across the country adding to our city’s economy.

Meet Minneapolis continues to score big events for Minneapolis and the region. An estimated 23,000 youth and staff will converge July 11-15 at the Minneapolis Convention Center and U.S. Bank Stadium for the 2019 Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) Youth Gathering.  The X Games will bring thousands more visitors between August 1-4, marking that event’s third consecutive appearance in Minneapolis.
Meet Minneapolis is a private, not-for-profit, member-based association. It actively promotes and sells the Minneapolis area as a destination for conventions and meetings, works to maximize the visitor experience and markets the city as a desirable tourist destination to maximize the economic benefit to the greater Minneapolis area.

Anticipated attendance numbers are provided by partner organizations and are subject to adjustment based on meeting planner projections and post event results.  Forecasted room night numbers reflect historical averages of room nights for the meeting or event.

Meet Minneapolis is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of Destinations International.
Kathy McCarthy, Director of Public Relations & Communications
(612) 767-8048