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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Explore Minnesota released a new recovery tourism campaign that highlights what the state has to offer.

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“Traditionally in a normal year we’d spend the majority of our dollars trying to attract non-residents,” Explore Minnesota director John Edman said.

This year the majority of Americans plan to travel by car due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Edman says they are appealing to Minnesota residents to explore safely in-state, and support the local economy.

“They include things like road trips, outdoor dining, doing an overnight in a houseboat,” Edman said.

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Minnesota has lost an estimated $3.2 billion in travel spending through mid-June.

Grand View Lodge in Nisswa lost out on millions from cancelled weddings and events, but has seen a massive surge in resort business as Minnesota’s economy reopens.

“People who were going to go to Europe said OK I’d rather stay closer to home,” Grand View Lodge managing director Mark Ronnei said. “Other people said I’ve heard about Grand View and I’ve never been there before.”

Grand View Lodge has spent around $100,000 on new safety measures, including extra cleaning, special sanitizing spray, masks for all employees, and hand sanitizer for guests. Explore Minnesota will also advertise in Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa.

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AAA predicts Americans will take roughly 700 million trips this holiday weekend through the end of summer.

Kate Raddatz