As I write this, our staff is in our fourth week of working from home amid the COVID-19 pandemic. We are getting pretty darn good at Microsoft Teams and Zoom Meetings, as we continue to adapt to the “new normal,” while staying connected with our partners.
Our focus has shifted, as much of our marketing emphasis is on internal communications and helping community leaders across the state “Be Safe, Be Smart and Be Ready” for recovery. We are also reprogramming our marketing campaigns to align with the current environment – and the fastest path to once again invite and host visitors. Our sales team continues working with our customers, tour operators, travel media, influencers and representatives, strengthening relationships and improving awareness. And, yes, we will still celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week May 3-9!
Now is the perfect time to dream, discover new options and plan your trips across our great state, for when it is safe to travel. Our “Meet my ND” video series, new virtual tours and inspiring outdoor recreation offerings at www.NDtourism.com(link is external) are great places to start. Keep the kids busy and play along with daily puzzles featuring an iconic North Dakota image, or have them map out your next North Dakota road trip.
Our new 2020 campaign, which showcases experiences across the state and encourages visitors to “follow their curiosity, not the crowds,” couldn’t be more relevant to travelers who will again travel, but are likely to make travel choices carefully, with safety a key consideration.
There will be vacations, long weekends, festivals, activities, reunions and conferences to attend again soon. Until then, we will work to support our 2,700 businesses and the 46,000 workers who make up this great industry in North Dakota, inspiring North Dakotans to do what they have always done – support their neighbors.
When it is safe to travel, follow your curiosity here, in our state, and meet the many faces that make up the travel and tourism industry across North Dakota.
“Be Safe, Be Supportive, Be Adventurous and Be Legendary!”
And remember, we are all #InThisTogetherND.
Sara Otte Coleman is tourism director with the N.D. Department of Commerce.