Behind agriculture and oil, the tourism industry is the third largest moneymaker in North Dakota.
But it’s not just the big businesses that have an impact on tourism.
Everyone knows about Medora, the North Dakota State Fair and other big tourist attractions in the state, but the big industry is really made up of many small events and businesses.
“We have 2900 businesses that make up the travel and tourism sector in North Dakota,” said Sara Otte Coleman, North Dakota tourism director.
North Dakota Tourism is a three billion dollar a year industry that not only impacts large businesses, but smaller businesses benefit from it as well.
“Obviously more people staying in hotels is good for restaurants and breweries,” said Aaron Thompson from Souris River Brewing.
Thompson uses the money spent by tourists and others to benefit the local Minot economy, by buying locally grown barley.
“We’re really proud that we can use North Dakota ingredients to create a wonderful North Dakota product,” Thompson said.
The majority of tourists arrive in North Dakota during the summer months, but Thompson says he’s encouraged by efforts to make the state a destination year-round.
Tourism Director Otte Coleman says the department’s outreach will remain in nearby states and provinces, but it will also continue to include the Chicago market in hopes of broadening the state’s reach.
The conference continues tomorrow, where people will learn the impact of social media and marketing to millennials.