2024 Governor’s Travel and Tourism Award victors announced

FARGO, N. D.– North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and Lt. Gov. At the current North Dakota Travel Industry Conference in Fargo, Tammy Miller, Commerce Commissioner Josh Teigen, Tourism and Marketing Director Sara Otte Coleman, and DMAND chairman Sheri Grossman presented six Governor’s Travel and Tourism Awards. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, second from right, with the Governor’s Travel and Tourism Award victors. / Submitted
The North Dakotans who have contributed to the expansion of travel and tourism in North Dakota are recognized by the Governor’s Travel and Tourism Honors for their passion and commitment. We’re thrilled to honor these extraordinary leaders who work diligently to promote and market our famous state, according to Burgum, who is a foundation of North Dakota’s economy. They” their imagination and commitment are what bring so many guests each year.” We owe a debt of gratitude to the 3, 011 firms and 43, 877 individuals who work in the travel sector, set North Dakota aside, produce incredible experience, and support our economic diversity. He has helped the status of the Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site, and visitor numbers there are on the rise year after year. In 2023, the page had its highest trip, just shy of 10, 000 people. He uses social media and other means to distribute the RRMMSHS’s account across the country, drawing in more viewers. He also has a passion for preserving story by obtaining veterans ‘ oral histories and securing objects for the site. Rob’s commitment to the project, such as completing challenging administrative requirements to obtain a Huey aircraft for the site, is demonstrated by his eagerness to go the extra mile. His work extend beyond the RRMMSHS, with Rob donating his time and expertise to assist different historical sites in North Dakota. Owing to Rob’s hard labor, the RRMMSHS is a growing historical site that brings Cold War history to life near Cooperstown, North Dakota. Kim Schmidt, the head of the tourism industry, received the Sakkawea Award for her work in the behind-the-scenes tourism industry. Kim skillfully handles a variety of tasks in a fast-paced environment, which contributed to an 891 % increase in media coverage for the hospitality offerings of North Dakota in 2022. Kim’s proper screening of celebrity activities has led to collaborations, expanding our approach, and promoting communities across North Dakota as vacation destinations. Her vigilant behind-the-scenes function involving North Dakota storytellers to the media not only raises the profile of our condition but also empowers others to improve their outreach efforts. Similar to Sakakawea, Kim assists tourism partners in navigating their contacts to properly highlight our country’s distinctive qualities, and this honor is a testament to her positive contributions. From the National Buffalo Museum to the Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge, Jamestown Episodes on YouTube programming received the Achievement Award for Marketing Excellence. This project not only increased their electric influence and social media reach, but it also attracted record numbers of tourists to Jamestown’s main areas in 2023. The National Buffalo Museum had a record number of paid admittance, the Frontier Village and World’s Largest Buffalo hosted over 150, 000 individuals, historical places saw an increase in guests, and ownership taxes were at a record levels. The success of the” Discover Jamestown Episodes” demonstrates how effective storytelling and strategic marketing are in drawing in visitors and raising the profile of a place. In addition to being the Executive Director of the Manan Progress Organization, Matthew Schanandore, who was the architect of the Mandan attraction, has a remarkable ambition and vision. From its inception, Matt aimed to create a vibrant holiday experience that would entice residents and families to Mandan, foster community involvement, and foster a winter draw in downtown Mandan businesses. The event provides entertainment as well as giving back to the community through initiatives like non-perishable food drives and volunteer opportunities for local nonprofits. ” Holiday Lights on Main” is a testament to Matt’s leadership and commitment to enhancing Mandan’s appeal as a holiday destination for years to come, thanks to its impressive growth and popularity, doubled attendance in its second year, and significant community impact. The small town of Regent, North Dakota, has been transformed by Gary Greff, the innovator behind the Enchanted Highway. He built the largest metal sculptures along a 32-mile stretch of highway nearly four decades ago, which defied doubters and washed by his dream to draw visitors. Gary has put his heart and soul into the project, starting the Enchanted Castle hotel and gift shop by welding and painting these enormous works of art himself. Even today, he welcomes guests, cooks meals, and maintains the sculptures. His dedication extends to his most recent creations, a fire-breathing dragon and knight, and Gary is always willing to share his story with media from all over the world. Gary’s tireless innovation has secured the Enchanted Highway’s place as a must- see attraction, boosting tourism, and breathing new life into Regent. Leadership in the Travel andamp; Tourism Industry led by Sheri GrossmanBismarck Mandan Convention andamp; Visitors BureauIn 1997, Sheri began working in various capacities before becoming Executive Director of the Bismarck-Mandawan Convention andamp; Visitors Bureau. With a career marked by leadership, marketing prowess, and advocacy, she’s highly respected within North Dakota and beyond. Sheri’s influence extends through her involvement in several tourism organizations, where she leverages her expertise to enhance travel and hospitality. Notably, she achieved the prestigious Certified Destination Management Executive ( CDME) designation, demonstrating her commitment to excellence. Sheri is currently working to form a new collaborative organization dedicated to advance travel and promotion in North Dakota while serving another term as chairperson of the Destination Marketing Association of North Dakota ( DMAND).