TOURISM CONFERENCE 2023
Our Chamber office is also a Tourism Bureau and I enjoy attending the annual tourism conference where 350 (plus 100's more online) of us learned about and saw all the attractions and opportunities our wonderful state of Minnesota has to offer. We got to hear about the efforts to grow our national and international visits here and how the legislators are working for us locally and in Washington to be able to dedicate more funds to our tourism efforts as well as efforts to attract people not only to visit here, but once here, make this their home, and to help with the workforce issue. Senators Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar joined us online, Governor Walz joined us in person and we ended the day with hearing from Ann Bancroft, the first female to explore the north and south poles amongst other expeditions. Explore Minnesota, Minnesota's Tourism branch, was a sponsor for his first expedition and she is a Minnesota native.
Some interesting stats from 2022:
500,000 visitors to the Explore Minnesota
77.2 million visitors to our state
254,000 people employed in the hospitality and leisure industry
The industry raises 998 million in state sales tax
28th in Tourism budget out of just 40 with Tourism entities...not good
43% hotel occupancy - well below national average
$12 million dedicated in 2024 to attract workers here - promote the livability of our state
Most travelers come 1-2 days - want to change that to 3-4
Our Tourism efforts here in Buffalo were demonstrated with the 8,000 people from all over the state and beyond that came to our Kite Festival! We promote shopping, recreation, food/drink, Art & Craft, apple orchards and more! We love our community, and we want others to love it too!