Report: Date of school start affects tourismby Rupa Shenoy, Minnesota Public Radio
The director of the University of Minnesota tourism center says new research suggests there's a significant decrease in vacation travel among families with children when school starts before Labor Day.
The director, Ingrid Schneider, says the university was part of a national survey of five states that compared people's travel patterns when school started before and after Labor Day.
"What we found is that when school started before Labor Day, there was a 50 percent reduction in travel between August and September," she said. "And a 30 percent reduction from May to September. So really shocking results, quite frankly, in terms of the impact of the Labor Day school start."
But Minnesota tourism officials say the state's resorts just had their best year since the beginning of the Great Recession.
Schneider says the modest growth reflects a national trend.
"Consumers are feeling better," Schneider said. "They've got better attitudes about traveling and tourism. In fact, the National Travel Sentiment index, which really gets travelers' opinion about their available time, their interest, the affordability and the safety of travel, is at a three-year high."
Schneider says travel and tourism is an $11 billion industry in Minnesota employing 11 percent of the private sector.