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The Effect of Winter Weather on Minnesota’s Tourism and Economy


Feb 12, 2024

Minnesota’s $22.8 billion tourism industry is a year-round venture drawing outdoors enthusiasts to every part of the state. But what happens when the snow and ice that make winter activities possible don’t materialize due to warmer weather?

University of Minnesota Extension’s Xinyi Qian, director of the Tourism Center, and Brigid Tuck, senior economic impact analyst, are available to talk about tourism in Minnesota and what factors help — or hinder — its economic impact.

Xinyi Qian, Ph.D. conducts applied research on a variety of topics related to travel and tourism, including visitor behaviors, active transportation, telecommuting, shared mobility, and outdoor recreation, among others. Her research has informed policies related to bicycling, and her visitor profile work has informed marketing and branding decisions in various Minnesota tourism destinations.

Brigid Tuck, M.S. conducts analyses and writes reports for the Economic Impact Analysis (EIA) program, which she helped launch in early 2009. Since then, the EIA program has issued more than three dozen studies, covering numerous economic sectors in Minnesota — including tourism, education, manufacturing, retail, infrastructure, and local foods.

The pair notes the need for climate adaptation when it comes to the myriad of ways cold weather generates money for communities, business, and individuals as Minnesota’s weather changes.

“Generally speaking, overnight visitors to a Minnesota community spend $140 to $150 every day of their stay. That money ripples through the community in many ways. This year, some of that money that starts with activities like snowmobiling, skiing and ice-fishing won’t be there.”

University of Minnesota experts can provide commentary, insights, and opinions on various news topics. Find selected experts on the University’s Experts Guide or send requests to [email protected].

By Editor

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