State Rep. John Ward, DFL-Baxter, and the Minnesota Growth Coalition applauded Gov. Mark Dayton’s funding recommendation for Explore Minnesota Tourism of approximately $16 million for each of the next two fiscal years.
Ward will be the chief author of legislation to appropriate this funding.
Tourism in the state of Minnesota is an $11.9 billion industry, supporting 240,000 leisure and hospitality jobs, which represents 11 percent of private-sector employment.
In addition, tourism generates nearly $769 million in state sales tax revenues, which is 17 percent of Minnesota’s sales tax revenues. From 2003 to 2011, state sales tax revenue from leisure and hospitality grew 41 percent, while those from all other industries grew just 16 percent.
Today, Minnesota’s tourism office funding level ranks 30th nationally and far below regional competitors like Michigan, Wisconsin, South Dakota and Illinois. Results show that every $1 invested in state tourism marketing generates $53 in gross sales, according to Dayton’s budget documents.
“The tourism industry is huge in our state and our area, and we need to do what we can to help keep it growing and prosperous,” said Ward. “By investing in Explore Minnesota, we can make Minnesota a priority destination, help our tourism industry create jobs and generate new tax dollars. I applaud Gov. Dayton for supporting this funding in his budget proposal and look forward to working with him and my legislative colleagues to get it done.”
Lisa Paxton, Minnesota Tourism Growth Coalition chair, said, “We thank Gov. Dayton for recognizing that investing in tourism promotion is critical to Minnesota’s economic health and well-being. Minnesota needs to invest in tourism to stay competitive, attract more out-of-state visitors and grow Minnesota’s tourism business. Members of the coalition look forward to working with Gov. Dayton and the Legislature as this budget proposal moves forward during the 2013 legislative session.”
The Minnesota Tourism Growth Coalition was created to coordinate activities to increase the marketing budget for Explore Minnesota Tourism through an increase in awareness of the importance of the tourism industry in Minnesota. The coalition has support from more than 90 tourism organizations and businesses from throughout the state.