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Sara Otte Coleman, director of North Dakota Tourism, Published May 07 2013

Letter: Travel in North Dakota affects the economy and relationships

Spring and summer are coming, and many of us are ready to soak up the warm sun and explore the many unique things to see and do in North Dakota.

National Tourism Week, May 4-12, officially kicks off the summer travel season. This year’s theme, “Travel Effects,” highlights the powerful benefits travel has on our lives, businesses and economy.

In North Dakota, tourism is one of the state’s top industries and an important part of our strong economy. All North Dakota communities – large and small – benefit from tourism. It supports businesses and puts people to work. Specifically, one out of 12 jobs in the state is in the tourism industry.

Further evidence of our strong tourism industry is reiterated by the U.S. Travel Association’s economic research, which shows that North Dakota continues to lead the nation in growth and our tourism industry is growing faster than the national average. And for the past five years, traveler spending in North Dakota has grown faster than the national average.

While tourism is good for our economy, it’s also good for our family relationships. Did you know that 90 percent of kids ages 8-18 see family travel as a chance to spend quality time with their parents? Or, that they rank going on a family vacation higher than all other activities in their mind? With everyone’s busy lives these days, it’s good to know that the good old-fashioned vacation is still cherished and a fantastic way to reconnect and make life-long memories.

Before heading out to explore North Dakota, test your knowledge of our state’s legendary things to see and do by checking out North Dakota Tourism’s video promotion and social media challenge. On May 4, Gov. Jack and First Lady Betsy Dalrymple set the series in motion by appearing in the first video, which debuts on the Travel North Dakota Facebook page. Their short video features many of North Dakota’s great places. Watch the video and guess what they are, then post your answers on the Travel North Dakota page for a chance to win Legendary gear.

Make this summer about reconnecting with your family and North Dakota. From east to west and north to south, our state boasts fun-filled adventures for all ages. North Dakota’s wide-ranging activities will inspire, challenge and leave you with priceless memories to share for years to come. To start your trip, check out the digital travel guide at NDtourism.com or request one by calling (800) 435-5663. I’ll see you on the road.

Otte Coleman is director, North Dakota Tourism.