The Associated Press March 3, 2010, 2:35PM ET

North Dakota agency: Tourism increased last year

North Dakota Tourism officials say the state saw increases in five key areas last year.

In 2009, state park visitation was up 19 percent, business and leisure travel up 10 percent, hotel profitability up nearly 6 percent, airline boardings up more than 5 percent and lodging tax revenue up 4 percent.

Tourism Director Sara Otte Coleman says some of the increases can be attributed to more activity in western North Dakota's oil patch.

She says the state is a bright spot as the tourism industry struggles nationally.

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