updated 10/15/2010 3:15:42 AM ET 2010-10-15T07:15:42

BISMARCK, N.D., Oct. 14, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- North Dakota continues to be the shining star in the nation's tourism industry. According to the United States Travel Association's (USTA) 2010 research, Impact of Travel on States Economies 2010, North Dakota leads the nation in all four categories of the report. The 2010 report covers the impact of travel on state economies in 2008 and the U.S. national economy for 2009.

According to the USTA, North Dakota led the nation in growth of travel expenditures, which was up by 10.8 percent. In fact, North Dakota was the only state with double digit growth in this area. Trailing North Dakota was Alaska at 7.6 percent, South Dakota at 7.4 percent, Texas at 7.3 percent, and Kansas at 7.0 percent.

For travel-generated payroll, North Dakota led the nation at 11.1 percent, and once again was the only state to experience double digit growth. The state with the next highest percentage of growth for travel-generated payroll was West Virginia at 8.3 percent.

In the travel-generated taxes category, North Dakota experienced a 9.1 percent growth, followed almost three percentage points behind by Maryland at 6.5 percent.

North Dakota also led the nation in travel-generated employment at 5.1 percent.

"North Dakota's tourism industry has remained strong during a time when many states have struggled to grow," said Sara Otte Coleman, director of North Dakota Tourism. "Our affordable messaging and close-to-home advertising strategy is well attuned to the times and trends. In addition, North Dakota offers a unique, authentic experience many travelers desire."

Conducted and published by the USTA for more than three decades, the annual Impact of Travel on State Economies estimates travel expenditures, travel-generated employment, payroll income and tax revenues for the nation, as well as for the 50 states and Washington, D.C.

The USTA stats come on the heels of North Dakota Tourism releasing its 2010 second quarter numbers, which indicated key areas for the state's tourism industry were substantially higher than 2009.

North Dakota's 2010 USTA estimates, at a glance:

North Dakota has been designated the most affordable state to visit by AAA.

Follow North Dakota Tourism on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TravelND  or on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TravelND  and get tips on what to see and do all year long.

For more information contact:
Sara Otte Coleman, Director, Tourism Division
North Dakota Department of Commerce

Deemed the most affordable vacation spot in the nation by AAA, North Dakota is loaded with genuine experiences that make vacations truly "Legendary." The state also boasts some of the nation's best hunting and fishing, and world-class biking, hiking and golfing. NDtourism.com

This information was brought to you by Cision http://www.cisionwire.com

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