May 7, 2015 North Dakota Tourism E-Newsletter

Keep up on the latest tourism industry news impacting North Dakota

May 7, 2015 Newsletter

Legislative Report
Travel is ...
Governor's Awards for Travel and Tourism
Conference Feedback
RMI Roundup Trace Trade FAM
RMI Roundup and Summit
Group Travel FAM
Team Goal Accomplished
Travel Updates

Legislative Report

The 64th Legislative Assembly came to a close April 29, the 78th day of the session, leaving two allowable days for a special session. Thanks to all the tourism stakeholders who helped advocate for the tourism budget and educate lawmakers on the industry's impact in their districts. The results were successful - with 100% of the Governor’s recommended increases appropriated!

HB 1018 – Department of Commerce (including Tourism Division)

HB 1018 includes the state’s primary economic development initiatives. The bill contains $247,000 in one-time funding for international tourism marketing, $1 million in one-time funding for expanded regional marketing and $750,000 in continued one-time funding for tourism infrastructure grants. HB 1018 also authorizes funding for several key programs:

  • $4.5 million for Research ND
  • $2.25 million for childcare facility grants
  • $1 million for workforce enhancement grants
  • $3 million for Tribal College Grants
  • $1.55 million for Operation Intern and externships
  • $1.75 million for entrepreneurial center grants and vouchers, with around $842,000 for Small Business Development Centers
  • $7.5 million for an enhanced use lease grant program for private development at or near the Grand Forks Air Force Base
  • $300,000 to match private sector contributions to the state workforce recruitment campaign, “Find the Good Life.”

In addition, the legislature also appropriated funds to Commerce in HB 1282 ($200,000 for rural healthcare workforce grants); HB 1285 ($650,000 for domestic violence shelter grants); and SB 2151 ($3 million for pre-kindergarten community grants). The total appropriation to Commerce is $131,373,174, of which $56.8 million is general funds. This is a 14% decrease compared to the $66 million in general funds provided for the 2013-15 biennium.

HB 1009 – State Fair Association
HB 1009 includes $1 million appropriation for the State Fair Association and $500,000 in one-time funding for an asphalt overlay project on the State Fairgrounds.

HB 1012 – Department of Transportation
HB 1012, the Department of Transportation appropriation, includes $503 million in one-time funding for enhanced state highway investments ($900 million in the executive budget), $2 million in one-time funding for recreational road access ($5 million in executive budget) and $7 million for a short line railroad program.

HB 1409 – Outdoor Heritage Fund
HB 1409 more clearly defines what the Outdoor Heritage Fund (OHF) can and cannot be used for, with a higher priority given to funding conservation projects. The bill also includes a funding allocation of $20 million per fiscal year and $40 million per biennium. Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever were removed from statute, allowing the Governor to appoint OHF Advisory Board members from any statewide conservation group. 

SB 2019 Parks and Recreation Department
SB 2019 contains $14.75 million for state park enhancements, which includes $3 million for the Parks and Recreation Department to take over the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and $11.75 million to be used at the discretion of the director for state parks enhancements. The bill also includes $200,000 for demolition of the Peace Towers at the International Peace Garden.

SB 2018 – State Historical Society of North Dakota
SB 2018 includes $2 million for Double Ditch Indian Village; $1.5 million for Dakota the dinosaur; $1 million for repairs to Fort Totten’s hospital building and Stutsman County Courthouse; and $25,000 for the Whitestone Hill State Historical Site. The bill also contains $264,000 in one-time funding to begin implementation of the electronic records archiving project; $200,000 to publicize historical events and defray costs; and $300,000 for traveling exhibits in the Governor’s Gallery and exhibits at historic sites.


Travel is ... 

We are in the midst of National Travel and Tourism Week and will continue the campaign through May 10. This year’s theme, “Travel is __________,” has provided us a unique opportunity to tie in the benefits of travel while promoting our Legendary destinations, attractions and events. There is still time to join in the fun so watch our social media posts and chime in with your favorites. 









Governor's Awards for Travel and Tourism

Congratulations to the 2015 winners of the Governor's Awards for Travel and Tourism. The complete press release can be found here.

  • Tiffany Irving, Front-line Tourism Employee - Front Office Manager for Staybridge Suites Fargo 
  • Fred Flood, Behind the Scenes Tourism Employee - Staff member at Staybridge Suites Fargo
  • Terry Harzinski, Travel and Tourism Industry Leader - Retired CEO of the Bismarck-Mandan Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Unglued Craft Fest, Event of the Year - Fargo
  • Williston Area Recreation Center, Tourism Attraction of the Year - Williston
  • North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department, Tourism Organization of the Year


Conference Feedback

Thank you to those who attended the 2015 North Dakota Travel Industry Conference in Minot. Please take a few minutes to evaluate this year’s conference. Your feedback, insights and suggestions help build the content and planning for future conferences. Click here for the survey.


RMI Roundup Travel Trade FAM

North Dakota hosted its first post Rocky Mountain International Roundup Travel Trade FAM in April. The group took in Fort Abercrombie, Crooked Lane Farm and Folk School, Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo, Valley City, Jamestown, Bismarck-Mandan, Richardton, the Enchanted Highway, Dickinson, Medora, Theodore Roosevelt National Park and New Salem in just four days. Among our guests were tour operators from Italy, Austria and Germany, representatives from Switzerland and the Benelux Region, U.S. representatives from Wyoming and a receptive tour operator from California. This was the first trip to North Dakota for everyone in the group. Because of this trip, we will see more itineraries showcasing North Dakota to these international markets. Thank you to all who were able to meet the group and support this FAM trip!


RMI Roundup and Summit

Thirteen North Dakota travel professionals attended the 2015 Rocky Mountain International Roundup and Summit in Sioux Falls, S.D. Roundup is a marketplace for travel destinations, accommodations and events to showcase themselves to international tour operators and receptive tour operators from around the world. Roundup takes place over three days in one of the states promoting themselves as the Real America region to the markets of France, Italy, the United Kingdom, the German-speaking markets of Germany-Austria-Switzerland, Benelux, the Nordic markets, Australia and New Zealand. More than 80 travel professionals from North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana joined 39 international and receptive tour operators at the conference. This was the first year North Dakota travel partners were able to attend the marketplace as North Dakota Tourism became a full partner in the Real America consortium in 2014-2015. Representatives from Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo CVB, Bismarck Mandan CVB, Williston, Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation, Norsk Høstfest and the Expressway Inn & Suites took part in the marketplace while Jamestown and Valley City also took part in the Roundup by sponsoring lunch and talking directly to tour operators. North Dakota will host the Roundup and Summit in 2017.


Group Travel FAM

The North Dakota Tourism Group Travel FAM May 2-7 included visits to 25 communities and a variety of attractions. The Country Travel Discoveries tour presented an eclectic collection of North Dakota attractions, accommodations and dining experiences. Tour operator Robert Tabern envisions a six-night customized tour twice in 2016. The FAM visited such locations as Black Butte Adventures, Nokota Horse Conservancy, Northern Lights Dairy and Maverick Ag Sunflower Farms, along with hands-on and behind-the-scene visits to MRISAR Institute of Science, Art and Robotics, Enchanted Highway and KHMA Four Bears radio station. It also made stops at an earthlodge and oil site, along with the north and south units of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  


Team Goal Accomplished

North Dakota Tourism staff set an annual team goal, a project that the entire staff could work toward. This year, Tourism worked for two days with the people at Cross Ranch State Park, helping the small staff there prepare the park for the eventual arrival of guests. Tourism staff painted buildings, planted flowers, scraped and primed picnic tables, raked leaves, stained decks, spread wood chips on playground areas and took down fences and poles that protected young trees from deer.


Travel Updates