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Dave Olson, Published January 09 2012

North Dakota tourism campaign seeks to build on 'Legendary' branding success

FARGO – Working on the premise that success breeds success, North Dakota officials unveiled a 2012 tourism promotion campaign Monday with a tagline that builds on the state’s 10-year-old “Legendary” branding program.

“Arrive a guest, leave a legend” is the state’s latest invitation to those curious about experiencing North Dakota’s history, culture and the outdoors.

The line is a hint that a trip to North Dakota changes what is possible in a vacation, said Sara Otte Coleman, the state’s tourism director.

And many have already gotten the message, said Gov. Jack Dalrymple.

“We are No. 1 in the nation in tourism growth. It (the branding program) has worked very well,” Dalrymple said.

Noting that North Dakota leads the nation in job growth and low unemployment, Dalrymple added that the state’s promotional efforts take aim at more than tourists.

“We’re aggressively marketing North Dakota as a great place to work, play and conduct business,” he said.

“Tourism is our state’s third-largest industry,” he said. “Right behind energy and agriculture, it is probably the greatest single source of new wealth creation that we have.”

Components of the 2012 promotion campaign include:

State officials said the 2010 tourism campaign brought more than 1 million visits to North Dakota, resulting in $176.9 million in visitor spending and about $13.6 million in tax revenue.

Al Anderson, the state’s commerce commissioner, said every dollar spent on tourism promotion results in $91 being spent in the state.

“Clearly, North Dakota’s tourism is paying off,” Anderson said.

TV spots marketing the state will appear on both broadcast and cable channels, Otte Coleman said.

Most of the spots will start running in May.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555