2017 was a big year for the Twin Cities. Flying, flipping and spinning daredevils flocked to Minneapolis to compete in ESPN’s X Games, Super Bowl preparations were underway and, according to a study released today by Meet Minneapolis, 2017 brought a record number of visitors to town.
The study, released by Meet Minneapolis and conducted by DK Shifflet, found that more than 33 million people visited the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area in 2017. That’s a 2.5 percent increase from 2016’s record breaking total, 32.5 million visitor, which had been an all-time high for the region. With visitor attendance on the rise, this new data suggests that the Twin Cities have become an up-and-coming travel destination.
“We are very fortunate in Minneapolis to be enjoying national and international exposure thanks to events such as the Super Bowl, ESPN X Games, upcoming WNBA All-Star Game and next year’s NCAA Men’s Final Four,” said Meet Minneapolis President and CEO Melvin Tennant in a release from the organization. “In addition, our vibrant neighborhoods, incredible amenities and transformed infrastructure will continue to attract more and more business and leisure travelers in the months and years to come.”
The study also revealed that with an increase in visitors, came an additional $7.8 billion spent within the local economy, ultimately helping to support more than 36,000 Minneapolis-based jobs.
“The numbers tell a compelling story about tourism and the economy for Minneapolis and St. Paul. 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,” said Tennant.
Tennant also noted the the city's first tourism master plan, Destination Transformation 2030, may have contributed to 2017's visitor increase. The plan, which aims to attract 50 million annual visitors by 2030, is geared toward longer-term gains in Minneapolis tourism and will work to grow and emphasize hospitality jobs in the metro economy. We'll dig into the Destionation Transformation 2030 plan and its potential impact in our upcoming Summer issue of Minnesota Meetings + Events magazine. Stay tuned!