• Twin Cities Sets New Visitor Record as Up-and-Coming Travel Destination

     
    POSTED May 7, 2018
     
    Photo credit: studiodr

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!

The family-focused, Wisconsin-based Great Wolf Lodge opened its first resort in Wisconsin Dells in 1997. Over the next two decades, it slowly expanded with more properties around the Midwest, moving into the Northeast, South, West and Canada. And this summer, the greater Chicago area will get its first resort from the brand.

 

Grand View Lodge, Spa and Golf Resort will debut a new 60-room boutique hotel in May 2019. Additionally, two new real estate developments are already underway and will soon begin welcoming owners and overnight guests. A new wedding chapel and recreation center and is expanding its spa facilities as well.

 

Lela Restaurant has rolled out new lunch and dinner menus, created by new executive chef Thomas Orbison.

Chef Orbison discovered his passion and talent for cooking following his career in the United States Air Force. “After six years in the military, I developed a passion for cooking and moved to Paris to study at Le Cordon Bleu, which is like Harvard for chefs,” said Orbison.

Now that he’s back in Minnesota for the first time since 2004, Orbison is excited to launch some new entrees in the southwest metro.