DEVILS LAKE, N.D. – January 21, 2020 - The City of Devils Lake is widely known for the lake it nestles against. The lake draws thousands of anglers annually. They spend money. So do visitors who travel to this area with its rich heritage, friendly faces, and loads of events, shopping, resorts and more.
Devils Lake Tourism Director Suzie Kenner said, “We are blessed to be a piece of the increasing North Dakota visitor spending pie. A record amount, $54,180,000, was spent by visitors in our county in the latest survey.” That data came from a comprehensive statewide Tourism Economics study by the reputable Oxford Economics Company reflecting the 2018 tourism impact.
That year saw 22,600,000 visitors to North Dakota, a million more than 2017. Leisure spending increased each year since 2014, amounting to direct spending of $3 Billion. Recreation spending was a large contributor, jumping 10.3 percent statewide. In Ramsey County (the county encompassing the city and the entire northern border of the lake and numerous adjoining smaller lakes) tourism spending increased 25.7 percent over the previous year. Kenner said, “The fact that visitors spent more than 54 million dollars here is amazing, when compared to 2015 and 2016 when they spent 40 million. This growth is the second most of all North Dakota counties.”
The survey also showed that travel and tourism is a major employer in Devils Lake and Ramsey County, with 967 jobs representing 11.4 percent of total county employment. Statewide, tourism supports nearly 42,000 jobs.
Heather LaMoine, ND Tourism marketing manager said, “North Dakota tourism has had a significant upward trajectory. Yes, we have oil, energy and agriculture which are massive industries, but they have their ups and downs. Travel and tourism provide economic stability to local communities.”
Survey numbers show recreation is rapidly growing. “The number one thing visitors like about North Dakota is that so much is tied to the outdoors,” she said. From National and State Parks to outdoor pursuits like hunting, hiking, fishing, birding, natural and historical locations, events and re-enactments, the state offers activities for all tastes. LaMoine said, “This is a place where visitors can get away from it all. They can enjoy nature. Even the popular tourist destinations are not crowded. People don’t have to stand in line here.”
She cited reasons for the increase in visitors. “North Dakota has the opportunities and it seems everyone is involved in the outdoors. We have no drop-off in hunting and fishing participation,” she said. “Also, as each new amenity or resort is built, more interest is created, and that appeal reaches more potential visitors.”
LaMoine complemented the tourism efforts by Kenner and her staff to promote Devils Lake. “She is innovative and doing things out of the box for her region, and it shows.” Some of the recent activities include major fishing tournaments like the National Walleye Tour Championship and bringing national attention to Devils Lake with projects such as Walleye Wars with Lake of the Woods. The Tourism Department also helps to host larger events & conferences through the Tourism’s Special Events Grant Fund.
Events are a major contributor to the city. Events such as the Fire Department ice fishing tournament, National Walleye Tour Championship and the Devils Run Classic Car Show together brought $2,000,000 to the area last year.
Kenner said the regular fishing reports plus a new YouTube channel shared on Facebook are reaching a key audience. Her staff also extends invitations to TV and radio shows, magazine and newspaper editors and digital/social media content writers to experience the wealth of outdoor adventures locally. “They love the area and write, show video and talk about us to millions of future visitors,” Kenner said, “We expect good growth again this year.”
Devils Lake events from fishing to golfing to running to birdwatching to hunting to sight-seeing to parks to resorts to casino to retail shops and more are featured on devilslakend.com. This website also includes weekly fishing reports, lake info, ice conditions, guide services, fish-cleaning stations, and so much more. Devils Lake questions will gladly be answered by a knowledgeable local resident at 701-662-4957.
Devils Run Parade & Fishing Tournament on Devils Lake