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Politics & Government

ND tourism 'holds its own' in 2017

Tourism division

The numbers aren’t in yet, but state tourism officials say 2017 held its own.

"Some parts of the state were up more than others," said state Tourism Division director Sara Otte Coleman. "The Medora, Badlands, Theodore Roosevelt National Park held very strong, after a record-breaking 2016. But other parts of the state were a little spottier."

Otte Coleman said some of the attractions maintained, some were up or down by 5-7 percent. She said there were some things working against the tourism economy in 2017.

"The Canadian exchange rate doesn't want to straighten out for us," Otte Coleman said. "We continue to see declining border crossing numbers."

Otte Coleman said it also appears there were fewer business-related trips.

Coleman said her department is preparing for 2018. She said in a time of reduced budgets, tourism will more finely target its markets.

Otte Coleman said her agency will continue to partner with the Minnesota Vikings, and will do some new things with the Vikings. She said this past year, it was mostly in-stadium sponsorships.

"We're on the screens out there," Otte Coleman said. "We're on the scoreboards, with video. There's also some static displays, and some on-line things."

Otte Coleman said there will be some staff in a tourism booth at US Bank Stadium. And she said there are plans for the Super Bowl, to be played at that stadium.

"What we're doing for the Super Bowl is we're wrapping a train," Otte Coleman said. "I don't know if you have ridden the light rail out there, but it's a tremendous success."

Otte Coleman said a new route goes from the Airport in Bloomington all the way to the US Bank Stadium.

"That will be wrapped for two months," Otte Coleman said. "That includes the week of the Super Bowl."

Otte Coleman also said the department will also be putting some more money into the Chicago market. She said that has shown to be a good market for North Dakota attractions.

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