Summer swing

For the state’s tourism sector, this summer should prove to be a good one

Summer is in full swing and tourists are taking full advantage of Minnesota's natural beauty. That's good news for the state's tourism sector, and this summer could prove to be especially lucrative. In a pre-season survey by Explore Minnesota Tourism, the state tourism office, 38 percent of lodging and camping businesses said they expect higher occupancy this summer, and 46 percent expect occupancy similar to last year. Forty-four percent expect an increase in revenue for the summer season. The survey was completed by 240 businesses, including hotels and motels, resorts, B&Bs, campgrounds, and vacation home rentals.

"Consumers are feeling better about the economy and their own pocketbooks, and there's pent-up demand to get out and travel," said John Edman, director of Explore Minnesota Tourism.

Tourism is an $11.9 billion industry in Minnesota and a key sector of the state's economy, the tourism office reports. The leisure and hospitality industry, a major provider of tourism services, employs almost 240,000 people, representing 11 percent of private sector employment. Leisure and hospitality also generates 17 percent of state sales tax revenues.