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Minnesota Launches its Largest-Ever Marketing Effort to Boost Tourism

April 17, 2014

#OnlyinMN campaign will span 14 markets, launch with new and improved website

ST. PAUL, MN – Today at the Minnesota State Capitol, Governor Mark Dayton and Explore Minnesota Tourism Director John Edman launched the state’s all-new travel marketing campaign, designed to encourage travelers to choose Minnesota as their next vacation destination. The marketing campaign, themed Only in Minnesota, promotes Minnesota as a one-of-a-kind Midwest travel destination. This year’s effort, which will reach audiences in 14 states and provinces, is the largest travel marketing campaign in the state’s history.

“Every dollar we invest in promoting Minnesota tourism brings another $84 of consumer spending into our state’s economy – supporting Minnesota’s vitally important hospitality industry,” said Governor Dayton. "That is why I worked with the Legislature last year to increase Explore Minnesota Tourism’s budget by over 65 percent.”

Promoting what is unique and special about our state is what the Only in Minnesota travel marketing campaign is all about – celebrating specific travel adventures, activities, and attractions that can only be found in Minnesota.

“Minnesota is an exciting state; there are numerous diverse opportunities for travelers and tourism stakeholders alike to rally and share authentic Minnesota travel experiences,” said John Edman, Director of Explore Minnesota Tourism. “This new campaign is a movement that will highlight unique Minnesota attractions and engage consumers in conversation about Minnesota travel. This cutting-edge campaign allows our state to be more competitive, and grow tourism across Minnesota.” 

Only in Minnesota: Promoting What Makes Our State Special
Research shows that travelers want to experience new and unique things when they travel. That is why the Only in Minnesota campaign features Minnesota’s distinct outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, and unique landmarks – differentiating Minnesota from other Midwest travel destinations. From camping and hiking in Minnesota’s great outdoors, to enjoying the nightlife of the big city, to experiencing the charm of a local restaurant, this year’s advertisements set Minnesota apart. And in keeping with the Only in Minnesota theme, the campaign incorporates homegrown Minnesota talent, including local musicians, and writers.

To be part of the campaign, and join the conversation, you can watch all four of the new TV ads on YouTube, and share your photos and unique Minnesota travel experiences on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest by using the official campaign hashtag #OnlyinMN.

Minnesota’s Biggest Travel Marketing Campaign Ever
With an all-new series of television, outdoor, and digital ads, and a strong, user-driven social media movement that will engage travelers, residents, businesses, and visitors bureaus across the state, the Only in Minnesota campaign is comprehensive and far-reaching. With ad buys of more than $3.7 million over the next three months alone, this year’s effort is more than double in size and scope than last year’s travel marketing campaign.

More than $11 million in additional funding provided over the current biennium by the Legislature and Governor Dayton has allowed Explore Minnesota Tourism to expand its overall marketing impact this year with enhanced reach across all four advertising seasons (spring, summer, fall, and winter). That additional funding has also expanded the reach of the Only in Minnesota campaign into target markets in six new states and two new provinces across the region, including: Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Explore Minnesota Tourism will also target new niche markets this year, increase international marketing, and develop additional marketing partnerships to enhance the impact of the state’s travel marketing campaign. The new campaign was created by advertising agency Colle+McVoy.

A Better Website
In keeping with Governor Mark Dayton’s Plain Language Initiative, and in the effort to make it easier for travelers to find information about vacation destinations and activities in Minnesota, Explore Minnesota Tourism this week launched a new and improved website. The previous website was not as compatible with mobile devices.

“Over the last several years, we have seen tremendous growth in visitor site traffic through mobile devices,” said Edman. “We need to meet travelers where they are, and that means being accessible on mobile devices and social media. Our new responsive-design website offers travelers the information and user experiences they need to identify and learn about Minnesota’s many unique assets, and more easily make their travel plans.”

Explore Minnesota Tourism’s redesigned, visually-enhanced website (www.exploreminnesota.com) offers a more user-friendly, interactive experience for travelers. Developed by BarkleyREI, the new website will be highly accessible via mobile devices and showcases picturesque imagery, travel articles and advanced search functions to lure travelers to Minnesota. To make travel planning even easier, the new website features a live chat function where travelers can ask questions about Minnesota and get advice for charting out their next visit to our state.

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About Explore Minnesota Tourism
As the state's tourism promotion office, Explore Minnesota Tourism pursues an entrepreneurial approach, leveraging the state's tourism investment with increased involvement by the private sector. A council of representatives from the state's tourism industry strongly connects Explore Minnesota Tourism with tourism businesses and organizations.

Tourism is a $12.5 billion industry in Minnesota, and a key sector of the state’s economy. The leisure and hospitality industry – a major provider of tourism services – employs more than 245,000 workers, representing 11 percent of Minnesota’s private sector employment. Leisure and hospitality also generates 17 percent of the state’s sales tax revenues. Every $1 invested in state tourism marketing returns an estimated $8 in state and local taxes, and $84 in consumer spending by travelers who visit Minnesota.

See what’s happening right now, only in Minnesota at: www.exploreminnesota.com/onlyinmn and join the movement via @exploreminn on Twitter, or @exploreminnesota on Instagram, Facebook and @exploremn on Pinterest, using #OnlyinMN.