"Tourism is an important part of the past, present and future of the Brainerd Lakes Area. Tourism means jobs, and brings new money into the market which supports the overall economy."

— Mark Ronnei, General Manager, Grand View Lodge

Tourism is area's bread and butter

The Brainerd Lakes Area has been Minnesota's playground for more than 100 years. With 465 pristine lakes, over two dozen golf courses, 100+ resorts and lodging options, and more recreational opportunities than you could imagine, the Brainerd Lakes Area is a must-see for hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. Tourism's service industry is a major economic segment here and has strong local support to ensure its vitality.  

Accommodating visitors with a skilled workforce

During the summer, the population here swells to an estimated 300,000, when you add in tourists and seasonal residents. That requires a signficant service industry workforce to handle everything from lodging to dining to retail and more. The Brainerd Lakes Area's workforce is educated, loyal, skilled and hardworking, as well as affordable compared to other areas throughout the state. With a strong employment base, skilled workers in the service area are plentiful here.

Average Weekly Wage by Industry
  Companies Employees Crow Wing MN US 
All Industries 2,164 28,275 $652 $928 $948 
Trade, Transportation, Utilities
480 5,806 $513 $806 $795 
Leisure and Hospitality
271 4,116 $214 $341 $389 
Other Services
173 871 $329 $545 $579 
Source: Minnesota Dept of Employment & Economic Development, 2Q, 2013 Data, US 2012 Annual
Updated: February, 2014

Average Hourly Wage by Occupation
Occupation Average Hourly Wage
Lodging Manager $20.57 
Hotel and Desk Clerks $9.68 
Maids and Housekeeping $9.97 
Amusement and Recreation Attendants $8.83 
Source: Wage Data, 2Q, 2012 (MN DEED, OES)
Updated: November, 2013

Major employers thrive here

The Brainerd Lakes Area has an excellent reputation throughout the state and the Upper Midwest for its high quality of service and recreational opportunities. Some of the lodging properties, which are also the major service industry employers, are nationally recognized for their outstanding service. The high volume of visitors through this area also has created opportunities for new business, everything from home improvement stores to landscape nurseries to equipment rental shops.

Your first step: Contact BLAEDC today

If you're considering the Brainerd Lakes Area as a location for a tourism-related business, or you're thinking of expanding here, your first call should be to the Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation. Let us help you get started. We're ready. Let's grow!

Major Tourism Employers, Brainerd Lakes Area
Grand View Lodge 575* 
Madden's Resort 497* 
Breezy Point Resort 445* 
Cragun's Resort 339* 
Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge 279* 
Source: BLAEDC Research, November, 2013
* = May-Sept Averages


Fast Facts

Economic Impact of Tourism

from Explore Minnesota Tourism


Recent News

Minnesota Tourism Growth Coalitioin applauds funding
Date: 1/29/2013  Source: Brainerd Dispatch
Off the beaten social media path comes Brianerd lakes area trails
Date: 4/25/2012  Source: Brainerd Dispatch
New bike trails offer winter riding
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Mississippi River Trail project coming to a city near you
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Date: 2/11/2011  Source: Brainerd Dispatch
State has a new approach to tourism marketing
Date: 1/28/2011  Source: Brainerd Dispatch
Pack the ice
Date: 1/23/2011  Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
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Date: 1/31/2010  Source: Brainerd Dispatch

Insights from Area Leaders