Coronavirus: Minnesota sees $5 billion loss in travel industry

Published on : Friday, September 4, 2020

Minnesota is one of the popular vacation places in United States and it is reported that this year the tourism industry sees a huge loss. The pandemic-related travel downturn has cost Minnesota roughly $5 billion in travel spending losses from mid-March through August, according to industry research.

The deadly coronavirus prompted officials to shut down or at least limit the size of many traditional events, from weddings to festivals to conventions. The health officials urged Minnesotans to stay home, or at least close to home when taking trips.

With more Minnesotans vacationing in state, resort and campground owners reported stronger tourism business than the metro region, which experienced a big downturn in meeting, convention and event business, according to Explore Minnesota’s annual post-summer survey, which was released Wednesday, Sept. 2.

At Grand View, the hotel occupancy rate from June through August was around 90%, which was down slightly from a normal year because the single-occupancy units were not being rented out by conference guests. The resort saw more families and couples looking for an escape from home like never before.

The survey was completed by 307 Minnesota lodging businesses throughout the state, including hotels and motels, resorts, bed-and-breakfasts, campgrounds, houseboat operations and vacation home rentals. The consistent with close-to-home travel trends during the pandemic, 47 percent of respondents reported that a larger than normal share of their guests were Minnesota residents.

Compared with last summer, 61% of respondents said revenue was down, while 58% reported decreased summer demand. By contrast, 29% of respondents said revenue was up this summer, and 31% of respondents saw an increase in demand.

Nearly one in three respondents stated business activity has surpassed pre-pandemic levels, while 31% said it has returned to pre-COVID-19  levels. However, 21% do not anticipate business returning to pre-COVID levels until at least 2022.

Ben Wogsland, director of government relations for Hospitality Minnesota, a St. Paul Association representing hotels, motels, lodges, restaurants, resorts and campgrounds, said the annual survey reflects what they have been hearing from businesses.

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