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Celebrating 25 years of Growth for the Dickinson CVB

by Jacqueline M. Dotzenrod, Reporter

The Dickinson Press

dickinson-nd-cvb

The dynamics of Dickinson may have changed over the years, but the Dickinson Convention and Visitors Bureau has grown along with the community. The organization is celebrating 25 years of bringing visitors to Dickinson.

“We take this opportunity to look at 25 years of growth, but it’s also an opportunity for us to look forward,” Dickinson CVB Board President Diana Knutson said. What started out as the hospitality committee within the Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce, the Dickinson CVB has gone through its growing pains and continues to build on its past successes.”One of the most major changes would be our new building in our most excellent location,” Dickinson CVB administrative assistant Tammy Weiler said. “That completely changed our world of tourism for helping the tourists that come through. Before, they had to come and find us downtown. Now, we’re right there off interstate.”

The Dickinson CVB moved into its new building in 2000.

“We only had three parking places out front,” Weiler added. “And the visibility for us increased because of the new building. However, we still struggle with our identity because people confuse us with the chamber. We want to get out there so people can understand that we are a separate entity.”

Another way the Dickinson CVB has grown is financially.

“Our budget has continued to increase with the lodging tax,” Dickinson CVB Executive Director Terri Thiel. “Typically it has been between a nine and 11 percent gain each year. It’s been a nice gradual increase. Sometimes because of the industry, you’ll have spikes and sharp decreases, but our increase has been nice and gradual.”

With financial success, the Dickinson CVB is able to expand its services as well.

“Our marketing has changed and increased,” Thiel added. “Also, some of the things in our area have increased for tourism attractions and offerings. We’ve become much more regional.”

Some examples of growth in the regional offerings include hunting lodges, which have started to spring up recently, within the last 10 years, Thiel said. Medora has also increased their offerings and a number of smaller attractions have started up in recent years as well.

“Bringing people to the area helps Dickinson’s economy,” Thiel said.

The Dickinson CVB has also been able to expand its services and hours, particularly during the summer.

“Our hours increase over the summer,” Thiel said. “We also bring on some extra help with three part-time summer people.”

Weiler said one of the services the Dickinson CVB offers travelers is a station for Internet access.

“A lot of people don’t have their own laptop and it helps them stay connected,” she said. “That really helps our traveler as they come through.”

They also keep tourist information for the rest of North Dakota on hand as well as brochures for Minnesota, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming.

Another expansion within the Dickinson CVB is with its staff. Thiel and Weiler have been with the Dickinson CVB for more than 10 years. Six years ago, Amy Braun was added to focus on recruiting conventions to the community.

“When I started, there were just two positions, director and assistant,” Thiel said. “It was just Tammy and I for a number of years and then we added Amy as a sales coordinator. We now have a person dedicated to convention biddings.”

Another service the Dickinson CVB has been able to provide to the community with its growth is the hospitality tax grant.

The program helps to fund events that draw in tourism to the area. Some of the groups the grant has assisted include the Ukrainian Festival, the Heritage Festival, Prairie Cruisers Car Club, the North Dakota Tournament Association and several local sporting events.

“Being a part of the CVB or chamber teaches you the importance of building a solid community,” former executive director LoAnn Wegh said.

“These two organizations are the foundation of your community. You need them to have a positive community. If you don’t have those two working hard, you would be surprised to see your community slowly breakdown,” she said.

Even with how far they have come, they still have far to grow.

“We’ve certainly seen a great deal of growth and we only have wonderful, positive things to look forward to,” Knutson said.

Projects like the Badlands Activities Center and Stark County Fair Grounds will enhance the facilities for tourists and conventions, she said.

“We’re very excited about what we can do to help with these projects in the future,” she added.

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