The Tourism Center Fund supports our work helping communities use research, education, and collaboration to guide local decision-making, drive marketing strategies, inform policy and strengthen local economies through tourism.
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Tourism Center's response to COVID-19 impact and recovery
Find below tourism-focused news articles, webinars and research reports to help inform and support your community during these uncertain times.
Why was our festival canceled? Understanding factors behind the decisions and keeping communities connected.
Learn why organizers around Minnesota have canceled some late summer and fall events and how organizers and community members can work together for the future of local events.
The travel and tourism industry is in depression from the pandemic. Read insight from national research and the industry, and learn key points to help the recovery process.
A summary of economic changes during COVID-19, especially among industries and communities most vulnerable to job loss.
In 2019, Vikings Verizon training camp attendees generated an estimated $5.7 million in economic activity. Learn more key findings from Extension's research.
Driven by what’s important to Minnesota tourism
Minnesota’s $16 billion tourism industry relies on research and education from the University of Minnesota Tourism Center. Our research and education stays relevant because we stay in touch with the industry and communities.
Our research examines current issues and emerging trends that affect the tourism industry.
- Visitor profiles give communities and local businesses information about their visitors.
- Tourism policy and sustainable tourism
- Other topics, e.g., mobility and workforce issues. Explore our research reports to learn more.
When visitors come to Minnesota, they expect excellent customer service, successful festivals and events, and great experiences. More than 100,000 participants have benefited from our three core program areas:
- Community tourism development
- Creating positive customer service experiences
- Festival and event management
- NEW! Growing tourism leadership - a webinar course for DMOs
Our research-based educational programs can help your community create and sustain local tourism experiences.
Our partnerships extend our work to all 87 counties in Minnesota and beyond. Our affiliates bring additional expertise in areas that impact the tourism industry.
Our 22-member advisory committee represents the breadth of the tourism industry across the state. They keep us in tune with emerging trends or concerns.
We have been strengthening Minnesota tourism for more than 30 years. Learn more about how we formed and important dates in our history.
In 1987, the University of Minnesota Tourism Center was created. That same year, Curtis L. Carlson made an initial gift to establish the Carlson Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Chair. This gift inspired additional gifts from over 130 tourism industry supporters.
Over the years, projects supported with Carlson Chair funds have made an impact in every Minnesota county and tourism sector. As a result of our research and educational efforts, social, political and cultural capital has increased across Minnesota.
- 2019 — Launched Growing Tourism Leadership webinar series
- 2017 — Licensed At Your Service program to University of Missouri Extension
- 2015 — Translated and culturally adapted At Your Service program for use in Morocco
- 2013 — Launched statewide Tourism Assessment Program collaboration with the Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships
- 2010 — Won Emmy® for Minnesota Tourism: Ideas at Play
- 2007 — Facilitated Three Rivers Wine Trail development
- 2006 — Hosted first statewide sustainable tourism conference
- 2004 — Sponsored first annual "Tourism Works for U" research showcase to celebrate National Tourism Week
- 2003 — Assisted with developing Minnesota American Indian Tourism Association
- 2001 — Conducted visitor profiles in Brainerd, Detroit Lakes, Ely, Pipestone, and Shakopee
- 1999 — Conducted visitor profiles of five southern Minnesota communities along I-90 corridor
- 1996 — Developed statewide research agenda
- 1995 — Launched the At Your Service program
- 1992 — Created Festival and Event Management program
- 1991 — Introduced National Rural Tourism Development program