Remove Barriers to Travel
It is important to make it easier for international visitors to come to the United States. We've seen record overseas travel to our country and Minneapolis is poised to benefit. The recent decision to allow Delta to fly from MSP International to Tokyo Haneda International Airport is a way we can benefit. We continue to advocate for direct service to Mexico City and to China. Our continued growth in total visitors is largely dependent on our ability to grow the international markets.
Highways are among the infrastructure needs all that American cities strive to address. This is significant for our metro area since nearly three fourths of our leisure visitors come from the five state region and driving is the preferred means of travel. Airport viability is also critical. The Metropolitan Airports Commission expects annual passenger counts to rise from the current level of 36 million to nearly 50 million by 2035. MSP International is a well-run and award-winning facility that is a favorite of travelers and we must work to keep it that way.
Celebrate Our National Parks
The National Park Service is celebrating 100 years thanks to legislation signed by President Woodrow Wilson in August of 1916. The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area stretches along the banks and islands of the Mississippi River for 72 miles through the heart of our metropolitan area. Both our Destination Transformation 2030 plan as well as the Downtown 2025 plan have a significant focus on creating greater connections to the Mississippi River. With its proximity to downtown, no visitor should leave Minneapolis without being able to see America’s most iconic river.
Champion Face-to-Face Meetings
Over the years, prognosticators have predicted the demise of the face-to-face meetings industry due to factors such as economic pressures and technology. These predictions have not come to fruition and in fact the opposite has held true. Among the reasons for the continued relevance of face to face meetings is that organizations want to remain competitive by developing top notch workforces. One of the ways to achieve that is the professional development that occurs during meetings.
Communicate the Power of Travel
Our programs like hospitality training, the hospitality hero award and this publication are ways we raise the profile of our industry. We have a great story of growth to tell, including the fact that the hospitality/tourism employment figure in Minneapolis currently stands at more than 33,000 people.
Win Back America's Lost Week
This is a great new opportunity for all of us in the travel/hospitality industry. Millions of hours of paid time off are left unused by American workers. These folks are affectionately known as work martyrs. Minneapolis can certainly provide those individuals with memorable experiences and increase our visitor count while doing so.
These U.S. Travel priorities are all worthy of consideration as we begin our planning for 2017 and beyond. Our team will continue to pursue resources that will help us more effectively sell and market Minneapolis to the world.