Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Fall 2005


Published in Great Plains Research 15:2 (Fall 2005). Copyright © 2005 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Used by permission.


Nature tourism is increasingly being considered as an economic development opportunity for rural areas of the Great Plains. As rural communities seek to develop nature tourism, questions regarding the attributes and interests of the nature tourist arise. This study sought to address these questions through a survey of participants at a birding festival held in central North Dakota in June 2004. The festival participants were predominately from outside the local area, and most of these visitors were from out of state. The festival participants were middle-aged and highly educated, and had relatively high income. The visitors spent an average of three nights in the local area, with an average local expenditure of $160 per person. The visitors enjoyed the festival and the area; almost all would recommend the birding festival to a friend. The potential for growth of nature tourism in the area appears substantial.