Tuesday, May 16, 2023 - 02:43 pm

The 2023 North Dakota Travel Industry Conference kicked off yesterday, welcoming more than 200 attendees to the Radisson Hotel in downtown Bismarck. The three-day event brings the state’s tourism industry together for continuing education, best practices and networking with renowned speakers and trainers.  

“We are thrilled to host the 2023 Travel Industry Conference in Bismarck and to welcome industry professionals to the Bismarck-Mandan area,” Bismarck-Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Sheri Grossman said. “This is a fantastic opportunity for us to learn from top-notch speakers, exchange ideas with our peers, and showcase all that North Dakota has to offer as a premier travel destination.” 

The conference began on May 15 with professional development roundtables and an opening reception at The CraftCade, Bismarck’s retro arcade and craft beer hall. Kristen Brown, an energy mastery expert, helped North Dakota leaders unlock their energy and positivity to lead their teams effectively, and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Melissa Cherry expressed why diversity, equity and inclusion matter in the travel and tourism industry. Attendees then joined breakout sessions which included working with media and influencers, sustainability discussions, collaborations with local artists and wrapping the day with Pecha Kucha tactical presentations. 

North Dakota’s tourism industry welcomed 21.71 million visitors generating $2.61 billion in visitor spending in 2021. The state is well positioned to build from this in 2023 with a continued focus on welcoming communities and legendary experiences. 

"North Dakota's tourism industry is poised for a strong travel season as people are eager to hit the road and explore new destinations,” Commerce Tourism and Marketing Director Sara Otte Coleman said. “Travel benefits our economy by supporting small businesses, creating passion, jobs, and generating tax revenue that supports community services while allowing visitors to experience the unique natural beauty and cultural heritage of our state.”  

Tomorrow the event will continue with several informative and engaging sessions, including a general session on "Blueprint to the Future: Leading in a New World of Work" with keynote speaker Eric Termuende and a session on the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library presented by Robert Lauf, Programs and Partnerships Director of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation. Breakout sessions on topics such as wellness, the state of the North Dakota traveler, and curating experiences in destinations will also be available. The event will conclude with the Governor's Awards Luncheon honoring leaders in travel and tourism.  

More information about the event can be found at https://www.commerce.nd.gov/tourism-marketing/travel-industry-conference