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Out-of-staters drawn to its scenery, past

Mandan, N.D. Tel?ma Blackman makes her Southern friends jealous when she tells them about her fun summer vacations in North Dakota. Dinosaurs, Custer, exciting tales of American Indians ...

Graphic: Tourism by the numbers

Mandan, N.D.

Teléma Blackman makes her Southern friends jealous when she tells them about her fun summer vacations in North Dakota.

Dinosaurs, Custer, exciting tales of American Indians ... there's nothing better for a 10-year-old who loves history.

Each summer, Teléma and her little sister, CrisTeoneé, come from Louisiana to visit their grandparents in Sawyer, N.D., and take the state tourism industry by storm.

This year's travels included stops in Washburn, Dickinson, Rugby, Stanton and Mandan, where the girls gathered as much knowledge as they could about the state.


"We just come to explore historical places," Teléma said. "It's really fun being up here. It's something different, something historical."

Why come to N.D.?

Recently, The Forum set out across Interstate 94 from Fargo to Medora to ask out-of-state visitors why they vacation in North Dakota.

Answers ranged from a strong Canadian dollar to "killing time" to a desire to see all 50 states.

No matter what the reason, all help boost the state's $3.6 billion tourism industry. And like other travelers of today, most made their plans at the last minute.

Léan Van Rensburg of South Africa booked her trip to visit the Midwest two months ago, although she's "always had the wish to come here since I was small."

Her main reason to travel to the United States was to see Old Faithful at Yellowstone National Park. But she flew into Minneapolis, rented a car and drove through North Dakota on the way.

The artist stopped at Frontier Village in Jamestown and Painted Canyon near Medora for sightseeing and picture-taking last weekend.


"This is amazing," she said while gazing at the Badlands. "This is beautiful."

Canadians Tyler and Natasha Arthur of Wainwright, Alberta, also admired the view with their 16-month-old daughter, Summer.

Tyler Arthur remembered "how nice it was" when he visited Painted Canyon several years ago and thought his family would enjoy the trip.

He and fellow young Canadians Ray and Gwenda Schreyer of Winnipeg pointed to the strong Canadian dollar as a reason to vacation in North Dakota.

"Everything is cheaper in the States, generally," Ray Schreyer said while visiting Fort Abraham Lincoln in Mandan. "There's lots to see in North Dakota."

The Schreyers' weeklong vacation also included stops at the North Dakota State Fair in Minot and Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

'Killing time'

Retired couple Clarence and Barbara Beaver of Salisbury, N.C., were "killing time" in North Dakota between engagements across the country.


Their six days in North Dakota included stops in Bismarck, Mandan and Medora. The couple read about Theodore Roosevelt National Park in a magazine and decided to see it for themselves.

The park also motivated another retired couple to check out the state.

Kenneth and Donice Crawford of Bogalusa, La., are spending about six months traveling the country in their camper.

Before they left home, they requested tourist information from 23 states, including North Dakota.

In each state, they sort through their materials and pick up more to decide where to stop.

Standing in downtown Medora last weekend, the couple said they expected to spend at least four days in North Dakota, possibly more. Both were amazed at the state's scenery.

"This is just beautiful country," Donice Crawford said.

Spending to receive


Spending generated by North Dakota Tourism advertising in 2005*

Transportation $24.6 million

Accommodations $21.1 million

Retail $18.5 million

Food $17.6 million

Recreation $6.2 million

Total $88 million

*Estimates are based on Longwoods International's North Dakota Visitor and Accountability Studies Travel Expenditures by sector.


Source: North Dakota Tourism Division's 2006 Annual Report

Cost of visiting

Vacation costs

AAA's Annual Vacation Costs survey found that North Dakota is the least expensive state to visit. The data is based on an average daily cost for food and lodging for two adults and two children.*

Fast fact: AAA has tracked vacation costs since 1950, when the average daily cost of meals and lodging for a family of four was $13.

*AAA's meal and lodging costs are based on prices from more than 60,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated lodgings and restaurants listed in its TourBook guides.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Teri Finneman at (701) 241-5560


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