It's no secret that North Dakota is in the midst of a huge oil boom, but what isn't getting as much attention is the accompanying surge of hospitality businesses popping up in the region.
For those looking for work in the hotel industry, North Dakota appears to be the place to go these days. Tourism officials say that more than 40 new hotels have sprung up here since 2011, and 39 more are anticipated to be open for business this year. One city in the heart of the hotel explosion is Minot.
"I can tell you everybody we talk to in the CVB world, the hotel developers and long-term planners, are just speechless. They are not seeing this anywhere else in the country. This is so rare. Nothing is growing as rapidly as this," said Wendy Howe of the Minot Convention and Visitor's Bureau.
It was suspected that hotels would quickly follow all of the rednecks that have flocked to the region in search of oil. What was not anticipated was the number of hotels that would be erected outside of the oil-rich parts of the state that almost lie west of Highway 83.
"While many of North Dakota's new hotel properties opened in the western part of the state," North Dakota Tourism Director Sara Otte Coleman says, "Eleven hotel properties east of U.S. Highway 83 opened in 2012 or will open in 2013."
When most people think of North Dakota, they probably think of big skies, snow, and quietly wonder to themselves whether Mount Rushmore is in North or South Dakota. Well the answer to that question is South Dakota, but that doesn't change the fact that tourism is a vital part of North Dakota's economy. 17 million people visited the state last year, contributing $4.8 billion to local businesses.
It is uncertain how long this unchecked growth of hotels will continue for, as most of the need for emergency residence for oil field roughnecks has been satisfied. As long as the demand for hospitality businesses continues, however, those in the tourism industry would be wise to look towards North Dakota for ample employments opportunities.