Minneapolis Tourism Industry Begins Bouncing Back – WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — At long last, visitors are once again coming to the Twin Cities and staying the night.

At the start of the pandemic, hotel occupancy dipped below 5% in Minneapolis. It’s now up to 30%.

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By most accounts, this is the ideal time of year to visit Minneapolis. But for a year and a half, those visits have been rare and hotels eerily quiet.

Lisa Schetinski works in sales at the Canopy by Hilton hotel in the Mill District of Minneapolis.

“I don’t think anything could have prepared all of us for this type of situation and how it impacts our industry so significantly,” she said.

Schetinski helps book for the art-filled boutique property with 183 rooms, and for the past year, few guests.

“I’ll try not to get emotional about it but we lost many team members where we just couldn’t support keeping everybody,” Schetinski said. “So I think the many furloughs and things really impacted our industry.”

But at long last, with the return of weddings and Twins crowds, the Minneapolis tourism industry is gaining ground.

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“The weekend occupancies have been growing. We even had a sellout weekend, which was really exciting, and I think that was so promising and just really invigorating for the whole team, to be back doing what we do,” Schetinski said.

As for the huge Convention Center gatherings that bring in tens of thousands…

“We would typically do 33 of those a year,” Mett Minneapolis tourism team president Melvin Tenant said. “This year we will have about 10 since we are in the recovery stage. But 2022 we should actually exceed that 33 number with the way things are looking for us.”

So local industry experts project 2021 will be a slow climb, but in 2022, more and more travelers will finally reach their destination.

Another sign of recovery for the Canopy: they are going to have two larger corporate events in August. And the Convention Center will have its first large scale event, a toy convention.

The biggest challenge now for hotels is to re-hire enough staff to keep up with growing demand.

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Travel tip: If you’re thinking of doing a staycation, hotel rates in general are still at lower rates.

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Moose Jaw mayor pokes fun at travelling politicians in new tourism ad

Moose Jaw is hoping to capitalize on local tourism through a new advertisement poking fun at Canadian politicians who caught heat for traveling internationally over the holidays.

Moose Jaw Mayor Fraser Tolmie appears in the ad at the city’s Temple Garden’s Hotel and Spa pool, with a tongue-in-cheek tip for other elected officials.

“Are you a Canadian politician taking heat for going away at Christmas?” Tolmie asked, after removing cucumber slices from covering his eyes. “I’m notoriously lucky, because I don’t need to take the heat to get away from it all. Why? Because we have it all right here in Canada’s most notorious city.”

The ad encourages Canadian politicians and citizens alike to travel to Moose Jaw, to avoid any controversial international travel.

“Honestly, if they would have come to Moose Jaw and spent their money here, there wouldn’t have been an issue,” Tolmie said, in an interview with CTV Morning Live Regina. “But they gave me some material to work with, we took advantage of it and we’ve actually had some good feedback from some of my fellow colleagues.”

Although the mayor had to trade his usual suit and tie for a robe, he said he is happy with the positive reaction the ads have received on social media.

“We want to be positive and we want to focus on where were going, not where we’re at. So we want to give some people hope and give them some options to come to Moose Jaw and support our local business here,” Tolmie said.

The ad ends with a disclaimer, reminding everyone to follow all current Public Health rules regarding travel.

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