April 20, 2017, North Dakota Tourism E-Newsletter

Keep up on the latest tourism industry news impacting North Dakota


Travel Industry Conference
National Travel and Tourism Week is May 7-13
Charging Stations in North Dakota
Sportshow Season Complete
Free Twitter Opportunities
Facebook Friendly Events
Be Group-Friendly
Travel Update



Nearly 200 travel industry professionals convened at the Radisson Hotel in Bismarck to hear inspiration, trends and best practice lessons from national industry leaders, look for under-utilized tourism opportunities - like tribal tourism - and honor those who have made a difference in the past year with Governor's Awards for Travel and Tourism. One breakout session was held in the historic Belle Mehus Auditorium. Governor Doug Burgum and Department of Commerce Director Jay Schuler spoke and presented with Tourism Director Sara Otte Coleman at the conference. Governor Burgum addressed the conference here and presented the annual tourism awards. Click here for more looks at this year's Travel Industry Conference.

Governor's Award Winners

Six Governor’s Travel and Tourism Awards recognizing North Dakotans' contributions to the growth of travel and tourism were presented by Governor Burgum, Tourism Director Sara Otte Coleman and Destination Marketing Association of North Dakota President Suzie Kenner. This year's winners:

Jamestown Fine Arts Association, Flint Firestarter Award for Tourism Development Project

The Jamestown Fine Arts Association was honored for its addition of the Hansen Arts Park, which has spurred new growth and development downtown while providing multiple ways for a visitor to engage: maybe be a selfie, reflection through poetry or hearing first hand inspiration from the artist through the Jamestown Talking Trail.

Loren Yellowbird, Heritage Award for a Front-line Tourism Employee

Loren Yellowbird has been a National Park Service ranger and Arikara historian at Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site since 2000. He works daily with the public to interpret the history of the trading post, at which his ancestors traded goods more than a century ago. As a historian, he manages the site bookstore, interprets the fort’s story and shares Native American culture with visitors.

Bobby Koepplin, Legend Award for Travel & Tourism Industry Leader

Bobby Koepplin is a legend in tourism development in the Sheyenne River Valley and beyond. He puts sweat equity into everything he does, with thousands of hours spent installing interpretation, campground infrastructure, planting trees and building and grooming trails along the byway, Valley City, Barnes County and the North Country National Scenic Trail.

Val Olson, Sakakawea Award for Behind the Scenes Tourism Employee

In her 25-year career at Fargo Holiday Inn, Val Olson goes from that person who is “just answering the phone” to being invited to reunions, graduations, weddings and company gatherings as a guest. Tourism officials have used her as an exemplary sounding board, catalyst and resource when rolling out new policies and programs.

Danella Myers, Telegraph Award for Marketing Technology

Danella Myers has been embracing social media and interactive marketing for the Fargo-Moorhead CVB since the inception of its Facebook page almost a decade ago. Soon to follow was Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and a blog that bolstered the CVB's online presence. 

Rough Rider Center, Trailblazer Award for Tourism Innovation

“Trailblazer” is just one way to describe the remarkable team of leaders that came together to create the Rough Rider Center located in Watford City, a world-class destination for western North Dakota. The vision of community leaders became reality with the opening of the 76,000-square-foot multi-purpose facility in the fall of 2016.

Click here for more information about this year's winners.

Native Tourism

On North Dakota's five reservations, there are five different ways to say "hello." The language of each tribe is distinct, as are the customs. Members of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, the Mandan-Hidatsa-Arikara Nation and Spirit Lake Nation met with travel industry representatives at the Travel Industry Conference. Those in attendance came away with a better understanding of the differences and how to promote such differences to visitors.

The North Dakota Native Tourism Alliance was created to protect, promote, preserve and educate the world about the culture, history and environment of each nation. North Dakota Tourism is working with the tribes to promote tribal tourism within the state. The Tourism Division recently launched a Tribal Tourism page at

Here are links to additional Native American tourism offerings.

Travel. Experience.Live.
Passports From the Heart
Authentic Travel


National Travel and Tourism Week is May 7-13

 This week of events serves to champion the power of our industry. Travel and tourism professionals from across the nation work throughout the week to promote the impactful contributions their travel markets and organizations make to the U.S. economy. This year’s theme shines a spotlight on the power of travel by recognizing the millions of people who keep this industry strong: the Faces of Travel. If you are looking for some ways to celebrate, here is a toolkit with resources to reach out to media and elected officials, plan local events and stage effective activities.


Charging Stations in North Dakota

North Dakota could get a big boost in electric vehicle charging stations thanks to the Volkswagen diesel emissions settlement. Citizens Local Energy Action Network (CLEAN) is hoping to use the payout to states, including North Dakota, to promote installation of charging stations. There are currently no public chargers in North Dakota. Fargo Parking Commission member Mike Williams says 15% of the $7.5 million - about $900,000 - must be used for charging stations. Williams says they would be located along interstates 29 and 94 and Highway 2. "ChargePoint," the largest provider of commercial chargers in North America, is rapidly expanding its coverage and recently conducted a demonstration in Fargo.


Sportshow Season Complete

North Dakota  Outdoor Promotions Manager Mike Jensen recently completed the last of four sport and travel shows for 2017. While this was the fewest shows Tourism has done in more than a decade, they were highly successful in reaching the public.

A North Dakota booth was displayed at the Chicago Travel and Adventure Show, the Omaha Boat, Sports & Travel Show, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Sportshow and the Northwest Sportshow in Minneapolis. “The shows were very successful with more than 7,400 people stopping by the North Dakota booth,” Jensen said. “This is our chance to speak directly to consumers and make a case to get them to plan trips to North Dakota.” 

Tourism partnered with 17 different stakeholders. Most sent printed materials for distribution. The Devils Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau and Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation were in-booth partners working alongside North Dakota Tourism to promote their destinations. New this year was an appearance by Theodore Roosevelt impersonator Joe Wiegand, working to get people to visit the whole state, especially his namesake national park and the park’s gateway town of Medora.  


Free Twitter Opportunities

Join North Dakota Tourism on May 3 for a chance to showcase your travel-related business to more than 800 travel Midwest travel writers and bloggers. Twitter chats are a way for you to connect with media across the country and sell them on your tourism offering. Several Twitter chats are planned, so take advantage of this free opportunity. See the schedule for available twitter chats.


Facebook Friendly Events

Let North Dakota Tourism share your local events through social media. Tourism can extend your reach through inclusion on the division's Facebook page. When travel partners place an event on their Facebook pages, we are happy to showcase it by adding it to the Travel North Dakota event page. Give us a heads up and we will help you get the word out. 



Be Group-Friendly

The group industry is competitive. Nevertheless, every supplier can
enhance their tour-attracting powers by demonstrating they are the
group-friendly choice. Click here to learn more.


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