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Archives - State Agencies - Tourism Division

[Authorized NDCC 54-34.4]

A Tourism Promotion Bureau was authorized in 1965 (S. L.1965, Ch. 15) within the State Highway Department and was later transferred to the Economic Development Commission in 1981 (S. L. 1981, Ch. 528). Since the beginning the Bureau has been involved in numerous projects and programs to promote tourism in North Dakota. It has prepared tourist information and literature for distribution to the public.

In 1991 Tourism merged with the Department of Parks and Recreation and the agency became known as the Department of Parks and Tourism. A new section was added to the Century Code relating to the new powers and duties of the North Dakota Parks and Tourism Department. Four sections were repealed as they related to previous duties of the two entities (S. L. 1991, Ch. 640, Ch. 641). 

In 1993 the Legislature established the Department of Tourism as a separate agency. The Department was headed by a director who was appointed by and served at the will of the Governor. A new chapter added to the Century Code involving the establishment of a Tourism Department was amended and the Century Code relating to the Parks and Tourism Department gave powers and duties to the Parks and Recreation Department or the Tourism Department respectively. Three sections of the Century Code were repealed within the Tourism Division of the Parks and Recreation Department (S. L. 1993, Ch. 80).

Also in 1993 the Legislative Assembly established a state tourism policy and asked the Department of Tourism to foster and promote tourism, to and within, the state. The Department promoted the full development of the state's tourism resources, and served as a planning and coordinating agency for the tourism-related programs of the state and the state's political subdivisions. The Department actively worked with summer tourist and motor-coach industry attractions, with cooperative advertising, and sport show promotions. It found ways to retain in-state tourists, to serve as the state’s tourism facilitator, and to generate film and video productions. 

In 1995 the Motion Picture Development office [NDCC 54-34.4-04] was established as part of the Tourism Department to promote North Dakota as a location for shooting films, television shows, documentaries, commercials, and to provide technical expertise for persons interested in using the state as a filming location (S. L. 1995, Ch. 54). The Department of Tourism appointed the staff necessary to fulfill the function and duties of the office, and the Legislature required the Department of Tourism to appoint advisory board members to assist in advising the office and to provide technical expertise or offer prospective film companies who were seeking locations and advice [NDCC 55-08-01.7].  

In 2001 the Department of Tourism became a Division within the Department of Commerce (S. L. 2001, Ch. 488). Changes were made by the Legislature concerning the advisory board (S. L. 2001, Ch. 44, Ch. 88). In 2007 the Legislature required the director of the Tourism Division to prepare and update a statewide marketing plan for promotion and expansion of tourism and to work with other entities toward the continued goal of promoting the state of North Dakota (S.L. 2007, Ch. 493). Changes in 2009 abolished the advisory board from the Motion Picture Development Office (S. L. 2009, Ch. 480). The law expanded the role of tourism to include a broader group of “partners” [NDCC 54-34.03]. Since 2011 the Tourism division has provided seven programs including advertising, media assistance, grants, research, literature distribution, and an international travel program.


1965       Initially known as the Tourist Promotion Bureau in the State Highway Department (S. L. 1965, Ch. 15).

1981       The Bureau was transferred to the Economic Development Commission (S. L. 1981, Ch. 528).

1991       Tourism merged with the Department of Parks and Recreation in 1991 (S. L. 1991, Ch. 640 & Ch. 641).

1993       The Legislature separated Parks and Tourism and created a new chapter in the Century Code for the newly established the Department of Tourism. The required state tourism policy was completed ( S. L. 1993, Ch. 80).

1995       The Motion Picture Development office was created as a part of Tourism for the purpose of promoting North Dakota as a destination for filmmakers. The Legislature required an advisory board with no more than ten advisors (S. L. 1995, Ch. 54).

2001 The Commerce Department was created in 2001 absorbing three cabinet-level departments including the former Department of Tourism (S. L. 2001, Ch. 488).

2001       The advisory board became an option instead of a requirement (S. L. 2001, Ch.44). Tourism [NDCC 54-34.4] merged with the Department of Commerce (S. L. 2001, Ch. 488).

2003       Legislation allowed for a levy that specifically promoted tourism (S. L. 2003, Ch. 92).

2005       A resolution was passed by the Legislature to conduct a study of the tourism market (S. L. 2005, Ch. 653).

2009       The advisory board for the Motion Picture Development Office within the Tourism Division was repealed by the Legislature (S. L. 2009, Ch. 480).


31734 Subject Files including the Promotion PSA of North Dakota Reunions Video Cassette.
31743 Tourism. Subject Files.
31782 Parks and Tourism. EPA Wastewater Files.
31892 Surveys, Studies, Reports File.
32172 Tourism Division. Administration Division. Civilian Conservation Corps. History Project.
32297 Tourism. Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Files
32347 Tourism. Audiovisual Material.


Gray, David P. Guide to the North Dakota State Archives, 1985.
North Dakota Century Code.
North Dakota Secretary of State Blue Book.
North Dakota State Legislature Session Laws.

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