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F-M CVB CEO wants more money for ND Tourism

2009-0521-ND-StateCapitol_6.jpg

The president and CEO of the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau is hoping to convince lawmakers to increase funding for the state Tourism Department.

The tourism budget was cut by nearly 25 percent in the 2017-2019 biennium, as the result of state budget issues. The proposed budget is now around $10 million for the next two years.

"Tourism marketing is more than tourism marketing," said FM CVB president Charley Johnson.

Johnson said tourism marketing also helps with the state’s image, and it helps with workforce development.

"Everything we're selling is exactly the same thing economic development corporations are selling," Johnson said. "Just for slightly different reasons."

Johnson said he would like to see the Legislature put another $5 million into tourism marketing over the next two years.

"Everything starts with a visit," Johnson said. "Nobody moves anywhere without visiting first; nobody wants to start a business somewhere without visiting first. They (legislators) need to invest more to get people to visit the state."

Johnson said the Tourism division does a “great job” with its limited resources.

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