By Iris Perez
MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Amid the afternoon bustle of downtown Minneapolis lingered the smell of sweet success after a great year for Minneapolis tourism.
“We’re really in a great position to go after any type of major event that’s available out there,” said Melvin Tennant, the President of Meet Minneapolis.
Tennant announced earlier this week that the city of Minneapolis exceeded its 2018 tourism expectations.
Having showcased Super Bowl 52, the WNBA All Star Game and 70 other sporting events, overall hotel occupancy was nearly 71 percent last year.
“The Hotel community usually looks at 70 percent occupancy as the point of which they really begin to prosper,” Tennant said.
“If you’re over 65 percent, it’s pretty good,” said Nick Halter, of Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal.
Halter says the city will now welcome the NCAA Final Four, which is expected to draw 94,000 people and $168 million in spending.
“Just for some perspective, that’s about 30,000 fewer than the Super Bowl and about half as much money spent as was spent on the Super Bowl,” Halter added.
Still, the city generated about $8 million in lodging taxes alone last year.
“That’s very conservative in terms of the impact that we have on the community,” Tennant said.
The lodging tax means a lower tax burden on locals, too.
Now, it’s just a matter of winning more winter bids for events like a college football bowl game, an NBA All-Star Game or Wrestlemania.
“Asking people to come up here in the middle of winter is kind of a tough proposal,” said Halter.