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Minnesota's hospitality industry showing signs of rebound – Eyewitness News – KSTP

Minnesota’s hospitality industry shows promising signs of a rebound amid the pandemic.
Revenue projections for bars, restaurants, hotels, resorts, and campgrounds heading into the summer months are the strongest they have been in more than two years, according to the most recent survey conducted by Hospitality Minnesota, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and Explore Minnesota Tourism.
“We think there’s a lot of hope,” said Ben Wogsland, executive vice president of Hospitality Minnesota. “For the first time across all three sectors of hospitality, which is restaurants, hotels, and resorts/campgrounds, more than 70% of the operators in each of those categories are saying they’re expecting normal revenue or better than normal revenue compared to pre-pandemic levels.”
Many businesses suffered during the early days of the pandemic due to shutdowns and restrictions.
According to owner Phil Weber, Park Tavern in St. Louis Park lost about $2 million.
“It’s surreal. It’s like the last two years are sort of a fog for everybody,” Weber said. “Nobody has that crystal ball, so you just don’t know how things are going to turn.”
The multi-use facility has been around for 42 years and offers a bar, restaurant, bowling alley, arcade, and patio.
Weber said business is currently surpassing pre-pandemic levels by at least 30%.
“Will we recover totally from what we lost? Maybe not, but right now we’re all enjoying the ride while we have it,” Weber said.
Hospitality Minnesota noted that the recovery is not only important for individual businesses but the state as a whole.
“One in 10 Minnesotans is employed in the hospitality industry, and we absolutely need this industry to be a highly functioning, robust, and healthy industry for our economy to be working right,” Wogsland said. 
While customers are returning, Wogsland said businesses are suffering in other ways, including rising inflation and staffing shortages.
“We are still down by 25,000 workers from pre-pandemic levels at this time of year in the hospitality industry,” Wogsland said. “And three-quarters of businesses told us the prices they’re paying for goods and services spiked 5% to 10% or even more over the last year.”
He said, despite the challenges, the current projections show optimism.
“These revenue projections for the summer are a good sign and a step in the right direction, getting back on the right path in this multiyear recovery,” Wogsland said.
To read the full report, click here. 
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