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Minn. tourism expected to increase

ST. PAUL -- A pre-season survey conducted by Explore Minnesota Tourism and completed by more than 370 businesses shows that 34 percent of lodging and camping businesses expect higher occupancy this summer.

The U.S. Travel Association expects a 1.5 percent national increase in domestic travel in 2012, with a 3.2 percent increase in travel spending.

"There's a sense of renewed optimism," said John Edman, director of Explore Minnesota Tourism, in a news release. "As consumers gain more confidence in the economy, they are more likely to take leisure trips. And the continuing trend of vacationing close to home really benefits Minnesota."

The Explore Minnesota ad campaign targeting Minnesota and nearby states emphasizes the idea of staying close to home by encouraging travelers to find "more to explore" at nearby destinations.

Travelers can find special deals and packages on Explore Minnesota's state travel website.

By staying in Minnesota, travelers will save money and build the state economy, which relies on the $11.3 billion state tourism industry, the release says.