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Meet Minneapolis Expects Strong Year

By Todd R. Berger

A view of the Minneapolis skyline CREDIT f11 Photo

This year will likely be a big year for meetings and events in Minneapolis, says Melvin Tennant, president and CEO of Meet Minneapolis, the city’s convention and visitors bureau. And that’s after last year when the city hosted 218 events that had $16 million for the Minneapolis Convention Center, which Meet Minneapolis manages, and $188 million in ancillary revenue in the region.

“We anticipate 300 or more events [this year],” Tennant says. “We expect a commensurate increase in revenue and economic impact.”

When asked why he thinks 2023 will be a bigger year than last year, Tennant expresses a common reason. “We have gotten farther away from the [initial days of the] pandemic,” he says. “[Due to the Omicron variant], we started out in the first quarter really with a large deficit, and I’m very proud of our team because essentially in three quarters of the year, we were able to make up all that ground.”

Tennant also notes the increase in the number of events “has a lot to do with the fact that meeting and event organizers understand the value of having in-person meetings. … Putting buyers and sellers at events with their industry’s products is a very important aspect for them.”

Part of the reason 2023 is likely to be strong for meetings and events is Minneapolis itself. As Tennant notes, “People are surprised at how green we are. We promote ourselves as a city by nature, really being a vibrant urban environment in a park-like setting is how we describe ourselves. Some of the things [that first-time visitors don’t know] is that we are literally right on the Mississippi River, … and [the city is] very, very walkable. Everything is accessible in Minneapolis’ compact urban footprint.”

The city is also capable of hosting major events, including the USA Volleyball Girls Junior National Championship this June with some 20,000 attendees and 70 volleyball courts set up in the convention center, and Super Bowl LII in 2018 at U.S. Bank Stadium, an event that brought 100,000 visitors to the Twin Cities. Tennant adds, “More than 80% of the people who came to Minneapolis [during the Super Bowl] said they were willing to come back and visit. That was a great endorsement for us.”