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Minnesota debuts new ‘True North’ tourism campaign

ST. PAUL -- “Find Your True North.”

That’s Minnesota’s new tourism marketing campaign slogan.

What do you think of it?

John Edman, director of Explore Minnesota, the state’s tourism promotion office, announced the new marketing campaign Monday, Feb. 4, at the start of a three-day tourism industry conference at the InterContinental St. Paul Riverfront Hotel.

Edman told more than 300 tourism industry leaders the new campaign aims at shifting Minnesota’s reputation from being just another Midwestern state to a new region, known as the North, much as the South, Southwest and Pacific Northwest are distinct regions.

Or as the office said in a statement, the campaign aspires to “help make the North less of a direction and more of a calling.”

The slogan works for Gov. Tim Walz. “This idea of finding your true North, I think it’s important for us to embrace this,” he said in opening remarks at the conference. “I’m excited about this campaign.”

Walz said he knew he was “preaching to the choir” of tourism leaders. “This is where I say: The choir has to sing now. They have to sing loud to the rest of the state and the rest of the country: Minnesota is a destination if you want to find your true North.

“Minnesota is a place where you will feel welcome. And Minnesota is a place that if you come visit, you might end up staying.”

The marketing campaign will start this spring with a new series of television, print and digital ads in Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and across Minnesota. Other target markets are Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, Omaha, Neb., and Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Tourism was a $15.3 billion industry in Minnesota last year, Edman said.

His office reported the state’s leisure and hospitality industry employs more than 270,000 workers, representing 11 percent of Minnesota’s private sector employment. That industry generates 18 percent of the state’s sales tax revenue.

More than 73 million domestic and international travelers visit Minnesota annually.