DAKOTA, S.D. — North Dakota has emerged as a big tourist draw for Europe and America, thanks in part to a boom in its tourism industry and the emergence of a number of regional destinations.
North Dakota Tourism has reported a record year of $1.9 billion in sales last year.
The state has been named as one of the top tourist destinations in the U.S., with about 1.5 million visitors last year, according to the Association of International Travel Agencies.
North Dakotans, like many other Americans, are increasingly interested in the Midwest, South and Southwest, and even Alaska.
“It’s a big market,” said Roberta Lutze, who runs the tourism marketing and development group at the North Dakota chapter of the International Association of Travel Agences.
“I think North Dakots are the biggest tourists market in the country.
It’s pretty incredible.”
The economic benefits are clear in North Dakota.
The average annual salary for a North Dakota state employee was $73,845 in 2015, according a report released by the state Department of Labor and Industries.
The median wage in North Dakotes is $50,817, according the report.
North Dakotans also get a lot of benefits.
The most popular vacation spots in the state are Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
“They’re great places for skiing and hiking,” said Lutzy.
The tourism industry, which has boomed in recent years, has helped draw tourists from across the country, as well as from abroad.
North Americans spend an average of $13,400 on travel, according TOA.com, a website that tracks international travel trends.
Tourism revenue in North Daksota is projected to reach $2.2 billion by 2019.
“If you’re going to be in North America, you’re either going to have to have a job,” said Kevin DeHaan, executive director of the North Dakota Tourism Association.
The North Dakoteans also benefit from a low cost of living. “
The tourism industry here is thriving.”
The North Dakoteans also benefit from a low cost of living.
According to a study released in February by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, North Dakota ranks among the lowest-cost states in the nation.
The study estimated that North Dakota’s per capita income is only $879.
That’s lower than in Minnesota, Missouri and New York, and well below the national average of more than $1,000.
The report also showed that North Dakotos average income is nearly $12,000 lower than that of the national median.
The North Dakota State Tourism Association estimates that its members have earned more than 6.7 million dollars in hotel room nights since 2010, and about $9 million in business and hospitality related income since 2010.
Tourism has been growing steadily in North and South Dakota, as many North Dakonans have returned home after spending years abroad.
But North Dakota tourism is still growing slowly, at about 1 percent a year.
In addition to the state, North Dakotic tourism is also growing in Washington, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Virginia.
And in other parts of the country — from Arizona to Montana — tourism is booming.
“People have been traveling overseas for years and years and they’ve had a great experience,” said David Wray, executive vice president of North Dakota for Travel Marketing and Development.
“Now they’re coming back to North Dakota.”