“I think here, there’s a lot of pent-up demand,” said Liz Rammer, president and CEO pf Hospitality Minnesota.
“There are businesses that rely on Canadian tourists to come and stay at the resorts, go to concerts, go to the hotels, go to restaurants, all those things that people come south for,” Rammer added about the expected boost in business.
According to the Associated Press, beginning Monday, bans on travel from specific countries are over. The U.S. will allow in international travelers, but they must be vaccinated — with a few exceptions.
As borders open, travel industry experts expect Europeans to be a big part of the country’s international tourism. But Minnesota’s neighbors to the north will play a big role in helping the state’s economy.
“It certainly gives optimism,” Rammer said about the benefits the international travel will bring to the state.
She says while the hospitality industry is improving, there’s still a long road ahead.
According to Rammer:
- The hospitality industry is down 40,000 workers.
- 66% of hotels took on an average debt of more than $1 million during the pandemic.
- 62% of restaurants took on an average debt of more than $500,000 during the pandemic.
Hospitality Minnesota also reports that the core business area in downtown Minneapolis is at half its normal occupancy.
Meet Minneapolis is also optimistic about the return of international travelers. Its global tourism sales manager, Casey Kluver, recently returned from London, where he connected with international tour operators. Kluver says people and businesses are ready to cross the pond.
“It’s a big deal. Minneapolis is an international destination,” Kluver says.
“It’s hard to just pigeonhole it to one thing, but it’s going to have effects throughout the entire industry,” Kuver added.
Just as Rammer alluded to, Kluver says Canadian visitors will have an impact soon.