Southern Minnesota travel industry recovers amid national challenges

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 3:22 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 20, 2021 at 6:48 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — The travel industry continues to face challenges as it recovers from COVID-19.

The American Hotel and Lodging Association says the pandemic disproportionately affected the industry.

Nearly half a million jobs in the field were lost last year; 20% of which will not return by 2022. While leisure travel is making a return, hotel occupancy remains low, resulting in a $44 billion drop in revenue compared to 2019.

Visit Mankato says, despite nationwide setbacks, the local industry is making progress.

“Here in Mankato, we did see that it struggled. Thankfully, we’re seeing a surge, and we are a little bit protected compared to some of the larger urban areas in our country, [and] in our world,” explained Anna Thill, president of Visit Mankato. “They are suffering much more deeply than our community is.”

Thill said area sports, music and arts have increased travel to Mankato, boosting the business back towards success.

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