North Dakota’s strong tourism industry creates demand for more rental providers

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Bismarck, N.D. – Many travelers want to experience North Dakota’s outdoor adventures without having to bring anything but their adventurous spirit. Thanks to North Dakota’s strong tourism industry, the rental business is promising and in demand.

According to North Dakota Tourism Director Sara Otte Coleman, visitor research shows travelers come to North Dakota to experience the state’s abundant outdoors. “North Dakota visitors want to experience our outdoor adventures like hunting, fishing and mountain biking, to name a few,” Otte Coleman said. “In looking at existing rental offerings in the state and the increasing number of people traveling here to experience outdoor activities, there’s a need for more rental providers.”

Existing rental businesses include businesses for bicycles, boats, kayaks, motorcycle and snowmobile rentals.

Dakota Cyclery, which has offered bicycle sales and service for more than 30 years, began operating bicycle rentals and a shuttle service out of its shop in Medora in 1994. Owners Jennifer and Loren Morlock have seen interest in mountain biking grow over the years, especially with the development of the epic Maah Daah Hey Trail near Medora. Recognizing the need for services in the western North Dakota town, they developed several different packages and options for riding the Maah Daah Hey Trail.

Missouri River Kayak Rentals was started in June 2010 by Becky Skalsky and Sandy McKay. The two women created the business to share their love for sun, family fun and the sport of kayaking. “We like kayaking so much and just wanted to share North Dakota’s beautiful river valley sites and gorgeous lake views with guests,” McKay said. “It’s a great way to really appreciate the peaceful, natural experience of the Missouri River.” McKay also notes a large increase in kayaking since they started their business three years ago. Missouri River Kayak Rentals offers several options for shuttle, drop-off and pick-up.

Twin Oaks Resort on Lake Metigoshe near Bottineau offers a variety of rentals for summer and winter activities. Resort Manager Andrew Renich says the resort began offering pontoon and snowmobile rentals in 2008, and they’re very popular. “Our rental services, which range from bicycles, pedal boats, pontoons and snowmobiles, give guests the opportunity to explore the Turtle Mountains and Lake Metigoshe without having to trailer a boat or sled from home,” he said.

Travelers wanting to fish but not wanting the hassle of trailering a boat can enjoy the convenience of boat rentals at several North Dakota resorts. Eastbay Campground and Woodland Resort on Devils Lake rent fishing boats and/or pontoons. Dakota Waters Resort on Lake Sakakawea also caters to anglers by providing fishing boat rentals.

For those wanting to tame the open road, Stutsman County Harley-Davidson in Jamestown and Magic City Harley-Davidson in Minot have begun renting Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Those interested in starting a tourism rental business can contact Dean Ihla at the North Dakota Tourism Division at dihla@nd.gov or by calling 701-328-3505. North Dakota Tourism can assist with promoting the tourism experience. In addition, the Tourism Division has grant programs to assist with promotion or construction of tourism-related businesses and attractions. Information can be found at NDtourism.com.

As one of North Dakota’s leading industries, tourism attracts visitors to the state’s 646 attractions, 357 events and festivals, and 886 hotels. In addition, more than 33,000 jobs in North Dakota are attributed to this robust industry.