Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Minnesotans predict higher leisure travel spending in 2013

A majority of the state's residents spend their leisure time in Minnesota, and 67 percent said they plan to spend as much or more of their money on leisure travel in 2013 as they did 2012, a new survey by the University of Minnesota Tourism Center reveals.

Among respondents surveyed during the fourth quarter of 2012, almost half (48 percent) said they plan to spend the same on leisure travel in 2013 compared to 2012, and 19 percent reported they plan to spend more. Younger Minnesotans anticipated spending more in 2013 than did older Minnesotans, but other demographic variables such as education level and income did not differentiate predicted spending. Previous visitor research indicates travelers spend most of their travel dollars on food, followed by nearly equal amounts on lodging, retail, recreation and transportation.

"This is a continued trend in Minnesota and is positive news for the  travel and tourism-dependent businesses," said Ingrid Schneider, director of the Tourism Center.

"The news is good for local economies," says Matt Kane, community economics program leader for University of Minnesota Extension, which delivers research-based education about tourism throughout the state. "The bulk of leisure pursuits by Minnesotans happens right here in the state. That's an important source of dollars for many local communities that depend on tourism for jobs and income."

The tourism industry generates $11.9 billion in leisure and hospitality sales in Minnesota, including $769 million in sales tax, and accounts for close to 240,000 jobs, according to Explore Minnesota Tourism.

The research study was one of several studies supported by the Carlson Chair of Hospitality, Travel and Tourism, and was conducted as part of the 2012 Minnesota State Survey by the Minnesota Center for Survey Research.More than 800 telephone interviews were conducted with residents of Minnesota aged 18 or older from October to December 2012. The margin for error was 3.5 percent.

The University of Minnesota Tourism Center is a collaboration of University of Minnesota Extension and the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. For more information on tourism research and Extension programs, visit www.tourism.umn.edu.

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