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Strategic Priorities

The North Dakota Tourism Division uses research to strategically analyze visitor activity, interest, market share, target markets, advertising effectiveness (ROI) and more. Internal efforts are complemented by national and international research provided by the U.S. Travel Association and contracted vendors.

Annual Report

Research shows our marketing drove 1.4 million new trips to North Dakota and dramatically elevated our state’s image as a good place to live, start a career, start a business, attend college, buy a vacation home and retire. A 2022 study also confirms what may seem obvious; most people visit before they move. Of recent drivers who transferred their licenses to North Dakota, 76% had visited the state prior to moving.

2022 Annual Report

 

New Fact Sheets Available

Tourism Impact 

Tourism Marketing Image

Agritourism 

Global Tourism

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2023 3rd QTR Marketing Stats
  • The Tourism Division’s annual staff familiarization tour took the team to the north unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Watford City, Tobacco Gardens, Fort Union, Fort Buford, the Confluence, Williston, Lund’s Landing, the Links of North Dakota and Garrison.

  • Visitation remained strong throughout the quarter. Highlights include:

    • Hotel occupancy rates that outperformed the national average in July, August and September. The September OCC % was 7.2% higher than 2022.

    • Border crossings from Canada were 38.5% higher than 2022, but remain 76% of the volume seen in 2019.

    • September 2023 was the first month that in-state air arrivals met the volume seen in 2019.

    • Arrivalist estimated a 10.4% increase in visitation over the same quarter last year.

    • Signals of intent to travel were improved with website sessions, Facebook page visits and live chats all exceeding 2022 volume.

  • 138 international tour operators offering North Dakota product, up 10% YOY. Estimated rooms booked up 154% over 2019. Italian, Dutch and UK media FAMs resulted in ad equivalency of $162K and a reach of nearly 13.4M.

  • Recorded 79 group tours with more than $1.5M in economic impact.

  • Story ideas pitched to 35 qualified outdoor media at AGLOW.

  • Rest area distribution included more than 30K Travel Guides and 61.5K highway maps.

2023 3rd QTR Marketing Stats

2023 2nd QTR Marketing Stats
  • Statewide hotel occupancy is at its highest level in years and outpacing national growth. Year-to-date occupancy is 7.4% higher than 2022, ADR is 9.3% higher and RevPAR is 17.4% ahead of 2022.
  • Visitation metrics are strong at the mid-year point.
    - Arrivalist reports 7.67% higher total visitation.
    - Deplanements are 11% higher than 2022.
    - Border crossings for the quarter were 50% ahead of 2022.
    - Visitation to Theodore Roosevelt National Park is up 12.46% with its second-highest visited June in history.
  • 47 international tour operator appointments at International Roundup and 87 appointments at US Travel’s IPW. International media reach of 29M with an ad equivalency value of nearly $761K.
  • 20 group tours with estimated $270K in economic impact.
  • Hosted Heliconia Productions to produce an episode of the show “Epic Trails” with Eric Hanson. Sites visited include Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the Maah Daah Hey Trail and Lake Sakakawea.

2023 2nd QTR Marketing Stats

2023 1st QTR Marketing Stats
  • The average statewide hotel occupancy has surpassed 2019 levels and is at an eight-year high.
  • January visitation to Theodore Roosevelt National Park was 32% higher than its 10-year monthly average. But weather impacted visits in February and March.
  • January deplanements outperformed 2019.
  • Border crossings into North Dakota from Canada were 151% higher than 2022, but remain only 75% recovered from pre-pandemic closures.
  • Through mid-March, Arrivalist has verified 567k U.S. road trips to North Dakota with 48% spending at least one night in a destination. Q1 growth has been seen from primary markets including Minnesota, South Dakota, Montana, Colorado and Wyoming.
  • International Inbound Travel Association Summit resulted in 24 appointments with 25 leads generated. International media featured North Dakota in 51 stories reaching more than 225M with an ad value of $2.11M.
  • Group travel shows, including American Bus Association, Go West, and Midwest Marketplace, resulted in 109 appointments.
  • More than 700 people stopped at the North Dakota booth at the Northwest Sportshow in Minneapolis.
  • Hosted a writer from Outsider Magazine to do a winter story featuring the national park.

2023 1st QTR Marketing Stats

2022 4th QTR Marketing Stats
  • Arrivalist verified 1.8 million U.S. road trips to North Dakota during the quarter, with 63% spending at least one night in destination. Overall visitor volume was down compared to Q4 2021.
  • Border crossings from Canada increased 114% from Q4 2022. The 84,153 personal vehicles entering ND during Q4 was the highest quarter of the year.
  • Traditional inquiries were 20% higher that Q4.
  • Hotel occupancy ended the quarter 3.7% higher than Q4 2021 and the year as a whole was 11.5% higher than 2021.
  • Lodging tax collections, from reporting CVBs, were 21.3% higher than Q4 of 2021.
  • The popular outdoor show Meateater aired their episode on Devils Lake in December. Tourism helped the Meateater crew with the episode in early 2022.
  • The crew from the Outdoor Channel show the Flush were filming an episode in the state in late October. North Dakota tourism is a long time partner of the show and assists in developing North Dakota story concepts.
  • UK Mission leads: Trade 53, Airline 4, Receptive Operators 2, Media 15 for a total of 74.
  • Overseas office Trainings: Australia, Benelux.
  • Media: Germany 2 days with Tri County Alliance.
  • Geoconquesting: National Tour- 11/13-11/16: 33,962 impressions, 21 clicks to the website with 0.06% click through rate.
  • National Tour Retargeting: 11/17-12/16: 55,049 impressions, 37 clicks to website, 0.7% click through rate. Total impressions: 89,011, total clicks to website: 58.

2022 4th QTR Marketing Stats

2022 3rd QTR Marketing Stats
  • North Dakota Tourism website, NDtourism.com, was recognized as an “Outstanding Website” by the Web Marketing Association WebAward for the recent redesign.
  • Photo and video shoots took place across the state with major campaign shooting taking place in August and a number of in-state creatives gathering assets at state parks, scenic byways, events and attractions.
  • Research was conducted on the state’s national image, advertising effectiveness and economic impact of visitation from the 2021 ad year, and new resident recruitment. These reports can be found on the Industry website.
  • Hotel occupancy rose to 63.2% by quarter’s end, meeting the September 2019 occupancy. While North Dakota had gains for the last month of the quarter, occupancy, ADR and RevPAR declined slightly nationally and in the west north central region.
  • Border crossings from Canada were up 282% over Q3 2021, but were only 58.7% of the quarterly volume seen in 2019.
  • Global travel representative participated in 39 appointments during BrandUSA Travel Week.
  • 76 confirmed tour groups with an estimated $1.28 million in visitor spending.
  • Outdoor media efforts included Archer’s Choice, The Flush, Live2Hunt and Wisconsin Outdoors.
  • Participated in the communication and marketing sub-committee for the America 250 Commission.
  • Main Street Tourism Outdoor Recreation Grant was awarded to six projects totaling $100,000.
  • Community visits included Bowman, Belcourt, and Minot. Consulted for the Red River Regional Council and served on the Native Tourism Panel at the United Tribes Summit.

2022 3rd QTR Marketing Stats

2022 2nd QTR Marketing Stats

Q2 Statewide Tourism Updates

  • Hotel occupancy is up 11% over May and June of 2021, and 14.4% YTD
  • Visitation to the national park was down 16% YTD
  • Border crossings from Canada were up by 340% over Q2 2021, and 270% YTD
  • Testing restrictions eased in April but fully-vaccinated status extended
  • Air arrivals are approximately 87% of 2019 deplanements – pricing and staffing are now a factor
  • DOT reports that highway traffic in June was 2% lower than 2021
  • Global marketing: French mission, Nordic mission, International Round-up and IPW resulted in 267 travel trade and media leads. International Round-up was held in Fargo and 23 attendees participated in FAMs pre and post conference. Two Swedish media representatives visited the state for 3 days.
  • The 2022 North Dakota Travel Industry Conference was held April 25 – 27 in Grand Forks, with more than 200 attendees. The Governor’s Travel and Tourism Award winners were:
    • Sakakawea Award for a Behind-the-Scenes Tourism Employee: Joel Walters, Dickinson CVB
    • Telegraph Award for Marketing Technology: Greater Grand Forks CVB, FORKS: Five in Five Campaign
    • Heritage Award for a Front-line Tourism Employee: Al Michels, Scenic Theater, Lisbon
    • Flint Firestarter Award for a Tourism Development Project: Broadway Square, Downtown Fargo
    • Trailblazer Award for Tourism Innovation: North Dakota Native Tourism Alliance
    • The Wade Westin Award for Marketing: Luke Shafer, ND Country Fest, New Salem
    • Legend Award for Travel & Tourism Industry Leadership: Charley Johnson, Fargo-Moorhead CVB

2022 2nd QTR Marketing Stats

2022 1st QTR Marketing Stats

Q1 Statewide Tourism Updates

  • North Dakota Tourism released results from a recent Stakeholder Survey. Results can be found here.
  • Industry Chats were attended by more than 80 partners in January and March.
  • January 8-11 Group Travel promoted at American Bus Association and met with 25 operators. Six tours booked for 2023 with estimated impact of $180,000.
  • February 14-17 Group Travel promoted at Go West Summit. Met with 38 operators from Germany, Italy, UK, Australia, Belgium, Mexico U.S. and Philippines. Four operators went on to attend International Roundup Pre- and Post-Product Development familiarization tours (FAMs) in May.
  • February 25–27 Outdoor Promotions exhibited at the Wisconsin Fishing Expo in Madison. The Devils Lake CVB partnered with North Dakota Tourism to exhibit in the North Dakota booth at the show.
  • March 10–13 Outdoor Promotions exhibited at the Northwest Sportshow in Minneapolis. More than 1,100 people visited the North Dakota booth.
  • March 27-April 1 Global Tourism went overseas with the Great American West – France Mission. Delegates representing the Great American West region of Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming traveled to Paris and Toulouse for a full week of product trainings, relationship building, development of new leads, and reconnecting.
  • Throughout the quarter, Global Tourism met with and trained 22 sales staff members and 11 product development managers, 2 airline meetings and 31 networking event participants for a total of 66 leads.

2022 1st QTR Marketing Stats

Medium

Image and Halo Study

Image research identifies national perceptions of North Dakota, as well as the overall awareness of the state and its advertising. The advertising’s lift on state image and economic development image is noted in the Halo Study.

2022 National Image Study

2020 Image and Halo Study

TSA: Economic Impact of Tourism

A Tourism Satellite Account is a detailed measure of tourism’s economic impact in North Dakota. County-level visitor spending is also available for the 2021 travel year.

2021 Economic Impact

2021 County Data

ROI: Advertising Effectiveness

This research shows the awareness of North Dakota Tourism campaigns and power in motivating visitation and visitor spending, along with the Return on Investment.

2021 Advertising Effectiveness

Workforce

This study was designed to gain insights into why people moved, their perceptions of living in the state, and what advice these new residents have for attracting other people to North Dakota.

Resident Recruitment Study

 

Medium
Industry Dashboard

North Dakota Tourism tracks visitors and spending trends and reports finding to its partners in several ways, including quarterly visitation statistics and annual report. Click here for the dashboards page. If you are a partner who would like to participate in our statistics program, or would like more information, please contact Penny Blotsky or call (701) 328-7265. 

Visitation

North Dakota Tourism partnered with Strategic Marketing & Research, Inc. (SMARI) to provide awareness of who visits, including basic information relative to visitor demographics, their origin, and extensive details surrounding their visitation.  The report also identifies the visitor segments and know how to match the state’s diverse product to these various groups.

2014 Visitor Profile

National Park Economic Impact Summary

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that visitors to Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site, Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site and Theodore Roosevelt National Park in 2019 spent $46 million in communities near these parks. That spending supported 586 jobs in the surrounding areas. 

The parks welcome visitors from across the country and around the world. Click here for the 2019 summary.