Minnesota tourism takes a hit amid stay-at-home order

Streets in downtown Minneapolis are nearly empty as the stay-at-home order remains in effect.

In week two of a statewide stay-at-home order, Minnesota’s tourism industry is reeling.

During a conference call Thursday afternoon, officials with Explore Minnesota addressed the economic toll of COVID-19.

“These are very unprecedented times,” said John Edman, the director of Explore Minnesota. “We have never experienced this ever at any other point in the history of Minnesota tourism, but it is a very fluid situation.”

With domestic and international travel low, businesses in every corner of the state that rely on tourism are taking a hit. Spending on spring and summer advertising is on temporary hold. Meetings and other events scheduled for April have been scrapped.

“It’s important that we keep the safety of Minnesotans in mind through all of this,” said Edman. “We don’t want to come out of this recovery and suddenly get back to where we were a couple of weeks ago.”

In Minnesota, tourism generates $16 billion a year in sales. That amounts to $44 million a day. The industry also accounts for more than 270,000 full and part-time jobs. 

In recovery mode, state tourism officials are keeping an optimistic outlook on the road ahead.

“We have to keep our businesses going,” said Edman. “We have to help our industry on the road to recovery. We can’t do it alone, but we can do it together.”

Explore Minnesota says that right now the organization is rethinking its approach to tourism marketing and remains confident that the industry will overcome this crisis.