Every US dollar invested in Minnesota tourism marketing generates an estimated US $ 18 in state and local taxes. The strong return on investment is one of the many reasons the state’s tourism budget for the next biennium should be funded in full during this week’s special session. This in turn will boost Stillwater’s economy by attracting more guests and spending time with local businesses.

Tourism has grown to be a government industry of $ 16.6 billion (pre-COVID-19) as measured by gross annual recreational and hospitality sales. Tourism employed more than 275,000 people in the state in 2019, generated wages of $ 6.4 billion, and represented 11% of all private sector employment in Minnesota.

The leisure and hospitality industry supports economic growth and vitality in communities in Washington and all other counties, and contributed $ 996 million in sales tax revenue in 2019, or approximately 18% of total sales tax revenue.

In the absence of state and local taxes generated by travelers, every Minnesota household would have to pay an additional $ 625 in state and local taxes to fill the void.

Tourism is also one of the industries hardest hit by the pandemic. And it can be one of the industries leading a recovery as residents and their guests across the state return to dining, lodging, camping, biking, fishing, and other recreational activities, including the vibrant Stillwater attractions.

This, in turn, will lead to more employment and generate tax dollars to fund education, health care, and many other vital industries for all Minnesotans.

Discover Stillwater is the marketing tool used to deliver promotional messages to potential visitors across the region and is reinforced by the marketing efforts of Explore Minnesota Tourism. Water Street Inn owner Chuck Dougherty and House Representative Shelly Christensen are EMT council members and advocates for tourism.

EMT’s budget has been flat over the past few years. The final division of the biennium will be negotiated at the last minute in the evenings of the legislature, which can rule out important factors.

There is a lot at stake. Financing the EMT 2021-22 budget in full is a wise investment in the economic future of Stillwater and the state.