Published May 1, 2002 | May 2002 issue
North Dakota's primary tourism draw, legendary sites and people, will be at the center of a $400,000 media campaign aimed at its most promising markets, those within a 500 to 700 mile radius. After promoting sites steeped in American culture and history, the plan emphasizes soft adventures, such as hiking, biking and scenery.
Although visitation is up 500 percent in the last decade, North Dakota remains the least-visited state, and the tourism department's market research found it falls behind all competitors in every one of 12 "travel motivators." That's before travelers arrive. When visitors do come, their level of satisfaction is high, exceeding their expectations in all of those same 12 motivators, research showed, including categories labeled excitement, family atmosphere, popularity and uniqueness.
The majority of visitors to North Dakota come to see friends and relatives. Only about 28 percent of visitors to the state are tourists who stay in motels and eat out; the national average for that group is 39 percent.