|EDA Center Faculty/Staff:
||Michele Schermann, Research Fellow in the University of Minnesota Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering
Ingrid Schneider, Professor and Director of the University of Minnesota Tourism Center
Chou Moua, second year graduate student in the University of Minnesota Master of Development Practice Degree Program in the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs
Tou Thai Lee, Independent Special Populations Project Consultant
||As Minnesotans comprise about half of Minnesota’s travel market (Davidson Peterson, 2012), understanding this in-state population is important to attract and retain consumers and, subsequently, support communities and economies. As of 2015, tourist data primarily focuses on white, non-Hispanics. Other markets exist, however, and are growing in Minnesota and elsewhere. A rather unique Minnesota market is the Hmong, as the state has the second highest Hmong population in the United States. Research on other immigrant groups finds some challenges and opportunities related to leisure and leisure-related activities, such as travel. This report provides results from initial qualitative explorations of Hmong leisure travel behaviors. Given a self-reported propensity towards outdoor recreation and nature-based tourism, Hmong are particularly important to consider in destination areas where the outdoors is a key attraction. Results will inform planning, marketing, and product development for Hmong tourists as a niche group both in the United States and Minnesota.
Six focus groups occurred fall 2014 with a convenience sample of Hmong Minnesotans across three age groups (n= 56). Held in socially valued places and facilitated by a Hmong Minnesotan who could speak Hmong and English, the focus groups explored travel interests, behaviors, and preferences among participants. The discussions took place in the language preferred by the group (English, Hmong, or a combination of the two), were recorded for later review, and ended with a traditional Hmong meal. Participants were compensated for their time ($50) and invited to review and confirm the data and findings.