[violins softly playing] In 2017, 73 million people visited Minnesota. They came from the Midwest, both U.S. coasts, Canada, China, Germany and beyond. Some came to bike, ski or snowmobile on our thousands of miles of trails. Others came to catch a glimpse of the northern lights, attend a show in the big city, or get away from it all at a lakeside resort. But no matter why they were here, these 73 million people had one thing in common: They spent a lot of money in Minnesota. In 2017, travel and tourism in Minnesota generated 15.3 billion dollars of sales. That’s 42 million dollars every single day. Tourism-related spending occurred in every county and community across Minnesota from Ada to Zumbrota and everywhere in between. This economic activity supports jobs for over 270,000 Minnesotans in the leisure and hospitality sector —11 percent of Minnesota’s private job market— and fuels 5.8 billion dollars in wages for Minnesota workers. But the financial benefit of tourism doesn’t end there. Every Minnesota resident benefits from the substantial tax revenue generated by Minnesota tourism. In 2017, leisure and hospitality businesses brought in 996 million dollars in state sales tax —18 percent of total state sales tax revenue. That money goes right back into the state’s economy, to fund our roads and bridges, our children’s educations, community festivals, and the renowned parks and trails that we hold dear. Without the tax revenue generated by travel and tourism, the average Minnesota household would owe an additional 625 dollars in state and local taxes every year. And those are just the immediate benefits of tourism in Minnesota. Like a pebble dropped in your favorite lake, each visit ripples across Minnesota and its impact can be felt across all industries. Once a person visits Minnesota, studies show they have an increased likelihood of investing in Minnesota businesses, purchasing a second home in Minnesota, or even becoming a full-time resident. Inspired by their unforgettable vacations, today’s tourists become tomorrow’s Minnesotans. We know people visit Minnesota for any number of reasons, from family camping trips to major sporting events and everything in between. But tourism is more than memories and Instagram photos. It’s an essential part of Minnesota’s economy. Tourism supports Minnesota workers, businesses and families. Tourism creates jobs, expands our state’s tax base, and helps fund the programs that make us proud to be Minnesotans. Put more simply, tourism works. For all of us.