Strengthening Tourism in Minnesota for 30 Years

30 years
30 Year Anniversary

Over the past 30 years:

delivered 100s of research studies and reports.

Research Showcase

created more than 60 publications and videos.


engaged communities in all 87 counties in Minnesota.

Engage communities

provided educational programming to 100,000+ participants.

Community Impact

Celebrating milestones

Curtis Carlson

In 1987, the University of Minnesota Tourism Center formed and the Curtis L. Carlson Travel, Tourism, and Hospitality Chair was established. Photo: Curt Carlson.


Introduced National Rural Tourism Development program


Created Festival and Event Management program


Launched the At Your Service program


Developed statewide research agenda


Conducted visitor profiles of five southern Minnesota communities along I-90 corridor


Conducted visitor profiles in Brainerd, Detroit Lakes, Ely, Pipestone, and Shakopee


Assisted with developing Minnesota American Indian Tourism Association


Sponsored first annual "Tourism Works for U" research showcase to celebrate National Tourism Week


Hosted first statewide sustainable tourism conference


Facilitated Three Rivers Wine Trail development


Won Emmy® for Minnesota Tourism: Ideas at Play


Launched statewide Tourism Assessment Program collaboration with the Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships


Translated and culturally adapted At Your Service program for use in Morocco


Licensed At Your Service program to University of Missouri Extension

Learn more about the Tourism Center »

Engaging communities

Our educational programs and outreach efforts bring research-based information to assist communities in building local skills and knowledge that create positive visitor experiences. Their stories are our stories.

Nort Johnson Faribault 2017

Nort Johnson explains how a Tourism Assessment helped Faribault understand their community’s tourism product development, and identify and reach key markets.

Watch video »

Laura Stengrim Thief River Falls 2017

Laura Stengrim describes how her experience with the At Your Service customer service training program has been a valuable resource for Thief River Falls.

Watch video »

Megan Christianson Grand Rapids 2017 Why VP

Megan Christenson details the motivation behind Visit Grand Rapids conducting a visitor profile study.

Watch video »

Let’s work together

As we look to the future, here is how we can help in your community or organization.


We offer programs to help you assess, plan, and develop and sustain tourism.


Our research provides communities with a deeper understanding about visitors, and insights that strengthen the local economy.

We also collaborate with University partners to look at a broad spectrum of questions to support tourism in Minnesota – from biking to invasive species.