Stakeholders Gather in Devils Lake to Advance Tourism
Stakeholders Gather to Advance Tourism
Devils Lake, N.D. - Area tourism stakeholders gathered today to develop initiatives for advancing the industry during a Tourism Congress regional meeting at Lake Region State College in Devils Lake, N.D. The Tourism Congress is coordinated by the North Dakota Tourism Alliance Partnership (TAP), the Destination Marketing Association of North Dakota (DMAND) and the North Dakota Department of Commerce Tourism Division (Tourism Division).
"This is a grassroots effort to identify the challenges and growth opportunities of the state's tourism industry," says Bill Shalhoob, TAP chairman. "The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported 17 percent growth in North Dakota's visitor spending from 2001-2004. Our industry needs to work collaboratively to ensure that this growth continues."
Today's regional meeting was one of eight throughout the state March 4-6 and 11-12. Stakeholders discussed tourism's economic impact, identified industry challenges and growth opportunities, developed strategies for growth, and prioritized programs and action items for the 2009 Legislative Session.
Sara Otte Coleman, Tourism Division director, shared new statewide and regional tourism data with participants. "As North Dakota's second largest industry, tourism accounts for $3.8 billion in visitor expenditures each year, according to 2006 North Dakota State University research. Aside from tourism's significant economic impact, it's an image builder for our state. By attracting new visitors here, we're able to showcase North Dakota as a great place to live, work and play."
"Every region of the state contributes to the success of the tourism industry," Otte Coleman adds. "New research showed that in 2006, northeast central North Dakota generated close to $190 million in visitor expenditures."
Judy Hoffer of the Devils Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau served as the local host for today's meeting. "Tourism has a tremendous impact on our region's economy," she says. "I'm pleased that we were able to come together in Devils Lake to learn about each other's challenges and to determine ways to grow our area's tourism offerings."
Coordinators will present Tourism Congress findings at the North Dakota Tourism Conference April 20-22 at the Seven Seas Hotel and Waterpark in Mandan. Attendees will have the opportunity to further identify and develop growth strategies and initiatives. Final initiatives will either become proposed legislation or be championed by interested individuals, groups or state agencies.