01 2013 »

North Dakota’s robust tourism industry continues growth in 2012

Bismarck, N.D. – North Dakota’s tourism industry maintained its upward trend in 2012 and continues to lead the nation in growth, according to North Dakota Tourism.

Year-end visitor statistics for last year show growth in key indicators of attractions, accommodations, border crossings and deplanements.

2012 year-end visitor numbers indicate the following:

  • 4.57 million visitors enjoyed North Dakota’s major attractions, an increase of 7%
  • 1.016 million deplanements, up 18%
  • 677,099 people visited our national park, up 13%
  • 853,493 Canadian border crossings, up 12%
  • 102,685 stops at local visitor centers, up 9%

In addition, US Travel Association economic research shows North Dakota continues to lead the nation in growth and is growing faster than the national average.

Further demonstrating growth in North Dakota’s tourism industry are statistics from a tourism satellite account (TSA) study, which is an international standard for measuring tourism’s economic impact. The recently released results are for the 2011 calendar year and show:

  • Visitor spending in 2011 was $3 billion, an increase of 23.5% from 2008.
  • 17.2 million people visited North Dakota in 2011, an increase of 12.7% from 2008.
  • 60% of visitors are non-resident travelers.
  • Overnight business travel grew by 6% from 2008 to 2011. Leisure travel grew by 15% and continues to be the largest travel segment. This demonstrates tourism growth is independent of industry-driven business travel.
  • Day trips make up nearly 64% of North Dakota’s visitation.

The release of these statistics, as shared in North Dakota Tourism’s 2012 annual report, is on the heels of North Dakota Tourism’s recent news that announced the successful results of its 2012 advertising campaign.

“Various statistics and research all point to the same result – North Dakota’s tourism industry is strong and growing,” North Dakota Tourism Director Sara Otte Coleman said. “As the state’s third-largest industry, tourism benefits all parts of North Dakota. It pumps millions of dollars into every county, improves residents’ quality of life, and creates a positive image for our state.”

These statistics are featured in the 2012 Tourism Division Annual Report, which is now available. To request a copy, contact North Dakota Tourism at 701-328-2525 or 800-435-5663, or download a copy at NDtourism.com.


As one of North Dakota’s leading industries, tourism attracts visitors to the state’s 646 attractions, 357 events and festivals, and 886 hotels. In addition, more than 33,000 jobs in North Dakota are attributed to this robust industry.


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