Northeastern Minnesota jobs, businesses, economy boosted by impact of tourism industry

May 06, 2011

EVELETH, Minnesota – Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board Commissioner Tony Sertich today marked National Tourism Week by recognizing northeastern Minnesota’s tourism industry for its contribution to the regional and state economy. 

“Northeastern Minnesota’s stunning beautiful lakes, trails, forests, parks and visitor sites have historically been and are increasingly becoming a preferred destination of Minnesotans and visitors from out-of-state,” said Sertich. “The jobs, businesses and revenue that tourism creates, are major contributors to the economy of northeastern Minnesota and the state.” 

Tourism within seven northeastern Minnesota counties supports 18,357 jobs and generates gross sales of more than $784.7 million annually, based on Minnesota Department of Revenue and Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development 2009 statistics. Of the seven counties, tourism within St. Louis County generates approximately $412.8 million in gross sales, followed by Crow Wing County ($183.8 million); Itasca County ($68.3); Cook County ($48.4); Lake County ($27.8); Koochiching County ($23.9); and Aitkin ($19.7). 

In addition, tourism within the seven counties generates approximately $50.6 million in sales tax annually. Statewide, the leisure and hospitality industry account for 17 percent of Minnesota’s sales tax revenues.

National Tourism Week is May 7-15. 

To commemorate the week, Sertich today commended northeastern Minnesota’s front-line tourism industry workers, small business owners and entrepreneurs who operate lodging, dining, shopping and other services that host and provide services to travelers. 

With a rise in gasoline prices, many Minnesotans are using their vacation days and turning them into “Staycations”—a vacation close to home. Across northeastern Minnesota, a wide variety of affordable “Staycations” are available that range from relaxation to outdoor adventure. 

Sertich also underlined the jobs created by the tourism industry.  In St. Louis County alone, tourism supports 10,229 jobs in Crow Wing County (3,772); Itasca County (1,551); Lake County (837) Cook County (824); Koochiching County (582); and Aitkin (562). 

“These folks and their employees are the people whose hard work and hospitality make northeastern Minnesota one of the best places in the nation to visit and vacation,” said Sertich. “Their love for this picturesque region and the first-class services they provide have a tremendously positive impact on our economy and on our customer-friendly reputation.” 

“The spring/summer travel season brings an influx of visitors to explore all the great destinations in northeastern Minnesota,” said John Edman, director of Explore Minnesota Tourism. “Spending by these travelers is a significant part of the local economy, and supports the bottom line of hundreds of businesses.  Tourism is an $11 billion industry in Minnesota, definitely an important part of the economic mix.” 

Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) is a state economic development agency headquartered in Northeastern Minnesota whose vision is to promote and invest in business, community and workforce development for the betterment of the region.