International visitors are drawn to North Dakota through marketing efforts like those by North Dakota Tourism Global Marketing Manager Fred Walker and his partners within the destination marketing community.
A Rocky Mountain International study estimated spending in North Dakota by visitors from the U.K., Germany, France, Australia, the Nordics and Benelux at $2.1 million in 2018, a 14% increase year-over-year (YOY). International visitors booked 6,792 rooms (+14% YOY) and returned $6 for every $1 spent on marketing the state to those regions.
“North Dakota markets cooperatively with South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho under the Great American West brand,” Sara Otte Coleman, North Dakota tourism director said “North Dakota is building awareness in the global market. By developing and providing diverse offerings, using strong marketing content and being able to react quickly to requests from overseas operators, we are seeing increasing numbers of visitors from afar.”
The Great American West brand is built on the unique cultures of the region, Walker has worked closely with the North Dakota Native Tourism Alliance to develop and present Native American experiences to a worldwide market.
“Tribal tourism experiences are extremely popular right now in all markets–especially authentic experiences,” Walker said. “We are looking at how to tie broader offerings to existing powwows so visitors can be immersed and learn more about the Native American cultures.”
In order to expand international visitation to North Dakota, Walker frequently participates in international tourism sales events. Earlier this year, Walker attended a sales event at Travel Week in London that resulted in 39 scheduled meetings and 10 additional visits.
“Travel Week leveled the playing field,” Walker said. “North Dakota was next door to Las Vegas with the same size table and signage, same amount of time with each tour operator, and same number of appointments.”
Sales at tourism events in 2018 led to a 22% increase in tour operators with 123 offering overnights in North Dakota. This resulted in a 54% increase over 2017 to 671 overnights offered. Overseas media produced 102 stories reaching 12.5 million readers and totaled $513,000 in earned media coverage.
Upcoming tourism sales events:
- U.K. Market: England, Ireland, Scotland on Nov. 16-23, 2019
- Nordic Market: Denmark, Norway, Sweden on Dec. 7-14, 2019
- Italy on Jan. 25-31, 2020
- France on Feb. 29-March 7, 2020
- Great American West: International Roundup at Casper, Wyoming on April 25-30, 2020
- U.S. Travel: IPW at Las Vegas, Nevada on May 30-June 4, 2020