Now, Lauren Bennett McGinty has to repair Minnesota tourism

Published on : Thursday, January 6, 2022

Like other places of the world, COVID-19 has also given a massive blow of a multi-billion-dollar to the tourism industry of Minnesota. Now, it’s the job of the new director of Explore Minnesota Tourism to mend the condition.


In November, Gov. Tim Walz appointed Lauren Bennett McGinty to take the place of John Edman. For 21 years, John headed the agency.


Of late, Bennett McGinty served as executive director of the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild.


In Minnesota alone, between January 2020 and October 2021, the COVID-19 caused $11.4 billion in travel spending losses which had a $16 billion annual tourism industry in 2019, as per Explore Minnesota research.


In this suffering, there’s a big geographic inequality. The resort industry of Greater Minnesota, after a turbulent start to the pandemic, has experienced high numbers in occupancy rate as people from different cities escape to drivable destinations to enjoy outdoors.


However, the Twin Cities metro’s tourism economy has been majorly damaged by seeing a stop in sporting events, concerts, festivals and corporate travel.


The Twin Cities had the lowest hotel occupancy in November with just 44% of rooms filled, as per STR Global, a hospitality benchmarking firm.


Bennett McGinty explained that business travel is getting back, conferences are booking again and large events like the NCAA Women’s Final Four and the MLS All-Star Game are coming to town.


“Looking at the metro area, it certainly has been a challenge and I think the biggest piece is … having conversations with the hospitality industry and figuring out where some of those gaps are and trying to do our best to provide marketing grants to those areas, as well as other parts of the state.”

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