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Survey Finds Bright Outlook For Summer Tourism In Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- If you haven't finalized your summer travel plans, you might want to get moving... especially if you are planning a vacation here in Minnesota.

Tourism leaders are forecasting a strong travel season within the state. Explore Minnesota just completed a survey of 234 lodging businesses -- places like hotels, bed and breakfasts, and campgrounds in Minnesota. They discovered a lot of reservations have already been made, even though summer hasn't officially started.

It's time to pack up and head back home for campers at William O'Brien State Park. There's something to be said about enjoying the simplicity of nature, just a short drive from home.

"We can go for the weekend and we can just get away from it all and it's like you are on vacation," camper Debbie Lenzen said. "You can just forget about work. You can just forget about anything else going on."

The Lenzens of Brooklyn Park have a 25-foot camper trailer they use for several trips throughout Minnesota each summer.

"There's a lot of good hiking trails, bike trails, and lakes and rivers," Debbie said. "We like coming here by the river."

In the Explore Minnesota survey of lodging businesses, close to half of the respondents said they expect summer revenue to be up -- 41 percent predicted increased occupancy compared to last summer and 84 percent rated their financial health as growing or stable.

"There are just so many nice places just to go hang out at," Larry Lenzen said. "We're going to the North Shore later this summer."

Industry experts credit successful marketing campaigns, more social media engagement, great customer service, plus a good economy factor into the boost in summer sales.

"This is a relatively inexpensive way to have a vacation, and I think that's why camping is so popular," camper Don Metke said. "This place was packed earlier in the weekend."

And with plenty of resorts and hotels to stay in across the state, Minnesotans have lots of options for a vacation close to home.

Tourism is a $14.4 billion industry in Minnesota, and a key part of the state's economy.

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