Meet Minneapolis is seizing the opportunities ahead of us, leveraging the events coming our way in the next few years to launch us toward longer-term gains in tourism. That’s why we teamed up with the City of Minneapolis and many others in 2016 to create Destination Transformation 2030, the city’s first tourism master plan. Throughout the 12-month planning process, more than 3,000 people weighed in, including tourists, travel writers, meeting planners, local stakeholders and industry experts. Six subcommittees worked to develop the plan, which will guide us toward a bold future for tourism in Minneapolis. The plan identifies eight initiatives for 2030.
1. Attract 50 million visitors to the metro area annually by 2030.
That's up from 32 million visitors in 2015
As part of that increase, expand winter tourism from 6 million to 11 million visitors by 2030.
Concentrate on drawing more visitors from beyond the Upper Midwest, younger visitors and more visitors of color.
2. Launch a metro-wide branding and marketing campaign.
Establish Minneapolis and its surrounding communities nationally and internationally as an inviting destination noted for a blend of urban sophistication, natural beauty and outdoor activity.
Produce an aggressive and creative “destination awareness” initiative, investing $10 million annually that leverages the resources, talents and collaborative skills of the broader metro community in both its public and private sectors.
Develop a metropolitan brand that allows individual cities to retain their singular identities.
Elevate the metro area to the “Top 10” among high-quality tourism experience destinations by 2030 by leveraging the region’s robust arts, biking, brewing and culinary scenes, as well as its number-one-ranked park system and vibrant cultural communities and neighborhoods.
3. Build an iconic visitors center on downtown’s central riverfront.
Activate the Mississippi River as the heart of Minneapolis’ tourism experience.
Use public and private investment to integrate the riverfront into the city with attractive green streetscapes, public art installations, markers and a gateway monument.
4. Implement a unified transportation, wayfinding and information program for Minneapolis.
Produce a legible network of signs at the airport; along freeways, streets and sidewalks; on bike trails and in skyways that provides clear direction toward major city destinations. Those include downtown, major attractions and notable districts.
Replace the “Free Ride” buses on Nicollet Mall with a system of circulators that may include streetcars and water taxis.
Work with partners to establish a reliable, real-time digital calendar of events, listings, openings and other bits of information helpful to visitors.
Commission a professional consulting firm to undertake the wayfinding research and design, and establish an oversight committee to guide their work.
5. Adopt a comprehensive place-making plan to drive Minneapolis’ tourism priorities and investments.
Build and maintain a green, high-quality, and consistently-compelling walking experience along the sidewalks of downtown Minneapolis.
With New York’s High Line in mind, develop a signature urban walkway from the Sculpture Garden, down Nicollet Mall, to the riverfront.
Encourage the expansion of retail opportunities at street level.
Develop child-friendly activities downtown and along the riverfront.
Emphasize safety — and the perception of safety — on downtown sidewalks.
Develop “cultural corridors” along East Lake Street, West Broadway and other appropriate thoroughfares.
Ensure that the Minneapolis Convention Center remains competitive and able to meet the evolving needs of meeting planners and customers.
6. Accentuate winter as a novel tourism adventure.
Offer distinctive experiences for visitors that reflect the area’s contrasting “theater of seasons” as a way to boost wintertime visitors to 11 million by 2030.
Develop infrastructure to support outdoor and indoor winter activities.
Create a signature event that features outdoor active living, lights and ice sculptures.
7. Grow and emphasize hospitality jobs as important to social equity and the metro economy.
Grow the number of hospitality jobs in the metro area from 32,500 in 2016 to 40,000 by 2030.
Raise awareness that these jobs represent an important entry point into the workforce for thousands of disadvantaged residents.
Invest in programs to increase the cultural diversity of the hospitality labor force from entry level to the executive level.
8. Identify and secure ongoing resources to implement the tourism master plan.
Meet Minneapolis will undertake this task in collaboration with public and private partners.
Institute a tourism improvement district and/or changes in the city lodging tax to fund the plan.