Twin Cities had boost in tourism in 2013

The Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area drew 29.4 million visitors in 2013 — a 5.4 percent increase from 2012.

The visitors spent $7.1 billion, up about 3 percent from the previous year, according to a new study commissioned by Meet Minneapolis.

The number of visitors making leisure trips to the Twin Cities was up 6.9 percent compared to 2012.

Melvin Tennant, president and CEO of Meet Minneapolis, said the organization is “elated” to hear about the tourism boost.

“We are on track to achieve our goal of reaching 36.8 million visitors in 2017,” he said.

Minneapolis lagged behind Chicago (48.4 million visitors) and Dallas (44 million visitors) for convention business in 2013, but was ahead of Indianapolis, Kansas City, St. Louis, Denver, New Orleans and Milwaukee, according to the study.