Tourism helps sustain economy

Sara Otte Coleman, Tourism and Marketing Director, North Dakota Department of Commerce, Bismarck

This week, the U.S. Travel Association National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) 2022 celebrates the “Future of Travel” and the industry’s role in fostering vibrant communities, driving innovation, facilitating recovery, and powering local economies. In Gov. Doug Burgum’s proclamation of North Dakota Travel and Tourism Week, he noted North Dakota’s tourism revenue sustains 2,700 small businesses and diversifies our state’s economy.

As the primary marketing entity that influences North Dakota’s image, our work in tourism promotion not only inspires travel, but enlightens millions and amplifies our state’s ability to attract future residents, businesses, and investments.

Recently released research shows that despite border closures and hurdles that impeded travel from Canada, 21.71 million visitors came to North Dakota in 2021, up 19% from 2020 and those visitors spent 23.5% more than the previous year, at $2.61 billion. Visitor spending supported small businesses across our state, with expenditures in food and beverage being the leading category at $767 million. Arrival data, sourced from mobile devices and GPS providers, reports 16,725,823 road trips to North Dakota, a 15.2% increase over 2020. This included increases from every state except one. (Hey, West Virginia, what are you waiting for?)

Tourism and marketing our state also plays an integral role in talent recruitment. And you can help. We encourage all North Dakotans to share their positive stories – why you choose to explore North Dakota’s legendary landscapes, enjoy local festivals and events this summer, and why you are proud to call North Dakota “home.”

The importance of travel is more evident than ever before as we shift our focus forward. We are now defining a more innovative, inclusive, and globally competitive “Future of Travel” to support jobs, grow our economy, and elevate North Dakota.


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