May 18, 2017 North Dakota Tourism E-Newsletter
Keep up on the latest tourism industry news impacting North Dakota
LETTER FROM SARA
I hope everyone had a great National Travel and Tourism Week! Our team touted the benefits of travel across our local channels and kicked off the 2017 Governor's Photo Contest. The week was eventful as we played host to Rocky Mountain International’s Roundup here in Bismarck, which you will read more about below. Downtown Bismarck restaurants, pubs and retailers experienced the value of international visitation firsthand. I would like to thank Governor Burgum for his attendance and for speaking at the banquet. Our international reps, operators and partners were very impressed with his engagement and on-topic message. Thanks also to all the North Dakota partners who participated and helped us showcase our state, and to the Bismarck CVB, which served as host to the event, along with Fred Walker who is North Dakota Tourism's international rock star!
Although first-quarter visitor stats do not show strong increases, there are some bright spots, including occupancy rates, which are up 11.7% YTD through March. Border crossings also are rebounding, with Pembina up 14% in February. Most other metrics, including visitor center and attraction visitation numbers, cumulative lodging taxes collected and airplane boarding are very similar to the winter of 2016. Our inquiry numbers show strong interest in North Dakota vacations for 2017. Our website traffic is up 3%, traditional inquiries are up 15% and E-news sign-ups are 13% above last year at this time. We also are seeing stronger in-state arrivals from visitors who have engaged with our advertising thus far in 2017.
We are looking forward to the traditional summer travel season with optimism and as always thank you for delivering on our Legendary promise.
Travel representatives from nine countries came together in Bismarck for the first International Roundup to be held in North Dakota. Eighteen North Dakota tourism partners participated in the two-day marketplace, nearly matching the participation of the past 10 years combined.
Many of the international visitors came to the state not knowing what to expect and many stayed on following the event to participate in FAM trips throughout much of North Dakota. Tour operators from Italy, Denmark, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, France and Australia were on pre- or post-Roundup FAMs where they had the opportunity to learn more about other North Dakota destinations. Five of the seven overseas offices and two RMI representatives were on post-Roundup FAMs.
Roundup itself is much like speed dating where entities and travel destinations have set appointments at which to showcase their tourism product with every tour operator, overseas rep and marketing partner. Forty-one tour operators and reps conducted 3,600 appointments with 84 regional tourism partners, helping to influence more than $130 million in estimated visitor spending within the region.
Then it was time for a little R & R, as North Dakota Tourism’s International Marketing Manager Fred Walker and Group Travel Marketing Manager Deanne Cunningham led FAM tours to opposite ends of the state, and for the next four days tour operators got an up-close look at North Dakota – many for the first time.
They left with an appreciation of what North Dakota is about: friendly people, dramatic scenery and historical legends.
The Midwest Travel Twitter Chat garnered more than 5.8 million impressions! Thanks to all who joined in on the Midwest Travel Chat earlier this month. We had some fantastic engagement during the chat as #MWTravel had access to more than 110 writers and bloggers in the Midwest. If you would like to take a look at the conversations and shared content, search #MWTravel on Twitter or check out this Storify at https://storify.com/WalkingTourists/find-your-ndlegendary-in-north-dakota. Here are a few samples of tweets that received some fun engagement:
The annual CenStates Travel and Tourism Research Association Conference will be held September 18-20 in Madison, Wisconsin. This year's conference is slated to give you actionable data you can take home and use in your plans for the coming year. And, there'll be great food to boot. Registration coming soon. Click here for more information.
Visitors come to NDtourism.com looking for a variety of experiences. That's why it's imperative that our partners take time to enhance their listings on the website. Take time to keep content fresh or add photos or videos. Use every function of your listing to grab visitors and bring them to you. The list below shows the results of a survey asking visitors what types of content and media were most influential in decision-making.
A picture is worth a thousand tours. Click here to find out more.
- Travel Information Map
- The Stadium Business Awards has named U.S. Bank Stadium a finalist in two categories – “Venue of the Year” and “New Venue” – for the 2017 awards ceremony set to take place in Dublin, Ireland, on June 22. While the “Venue of the Year” award will be determined by a panel of judges, the “New Venue” winner will be determined by an online vote. Vikings fans can vote for U.S. Bank Stadium here (only one vote allowed per fan). North Dakota Tourism was one of the first to advertise in the new arena.
- Boathouse on the Red opens May 27 at new location downtown Grand Forks on Riverboat Road just north of the DeMers Bridge. Offers canoes, kayaks for one and two paddlers, and standup paddleboards. Rentals free Memorial Day.
- Fat Boys Home Cooking and Soul Food opened at 122 S. Main St., Minot. Known for its massive sandwiches and comfort food.