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MN launches new ad campaign to hype tourism

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ST. PAUL — “Only in Minnesota” doesn’t refer just to snow in mid-April.

It’s also the theme of the state’s largest-ever marketing campaign to lure tourists to Minnesota and persuade Minnesotans to vacation in their home state.

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The Explore Minnesota tourism agency has more than doubled its advertising budget and expanded its target markets to six new states and Canadian provinces, up from eight last year, state tourism director John Erdman said Thursday at a Capitol news conference. The new markets include Chicago, Kansas City, Omaha and Denver.

“This campaign is a user-driven campaign that celebrates the diversity and unique destinations, attractions and experiences that can be found only in our great state,” Erdman said.

The campaign includes a series of television, outdoor and digital ads, an easier-to-navigate website and a stronger social media presence on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest using the hashtag #OnlyinMN.

“We’re trying to reach a younger audience,” Erdman said.

Gov. Mark Dayton and the Legislature raised Explore Minnesota’s budget by $11 million last year — a 65 percent increase — to expand the ad campaign.

About half the ad budget will be spent to reach Minnesota residents, and the other half will be aimed at tourists, Erdman said.

Minnesota ranked 30th in state tourism spending last year, he said. Even with the budget increase, Minnesota still will spend less than Wisconsin, Missouri, Illinois and other states, but it will be more competitive.

Erdman said a survey showed that every dollar invested in promoting Minnesota tourism brings in $84 of consumer spending.

Tourism generates $12.5 billion in sales, more than 245,000 full- and part-time jobs, and $811 million in sales tax revenue annually in Minnesota, the agency reported.

To see the new ad campaign, go to exploreminnesota.com/onlyinmn.

The Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service.

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