MINOT, N.D. (KXNET) — Tourism businesses in our area are making the trek to the east for a big conference in Grand Forks.

The North Dakota Travel Industry Conference will be held from April 25-27 at the Alerus Center.

This is the first conference in two years, and industry professionals will be networking and learning how to best market their own communities.

The tourism and marketing director for the North Dakota Department of Commerce says a big focus this year will be getting North Dakotans to vacation in the state.

“We definitely have opportunities for people that they aren’t aware of,” said Sara Otte Coleman. “People that live here, have lived here their whole life learn about new things all the time. ‘I didn’t know that existed. I didn’t know that I could do that here.’ And so it’s super fun to see north Dakotans engaging and enjoying North Dakota more, which they did during the pandemic, and we hope that that just continues going forward.”

Otte Coleman says the No. 1 reason people are looking to travel this year is to connect with family and friends.