Turtle Mountain Tourism Conference 2023

Turtle Mountain Tourism Summit

May 4, 2023

8:30AM – Registration Table Opens

9:00AM – Welcome Remarks

4:30PM – Conference is finished but there will be tours of IPG if participants wish to have a tour.

The Turtle Mountain Tourism Summit is FREE. Registration is required to attend. Please click here to register

Join us at the Turtle Mountain Tourism Summit, sponsored by Travel Manitoba with support from North Dakota Tourism on May 4, 2023 at the Burdick Center for the Performing Arts.

The International Peace Garden is excited to partner with the tourism industry across Manitoba and North Dakota as we look to build on the incredible Canadian and American towns and attractions that draw thousands of people to our region annually.

Lunch and refreshments provided.


Colin Ferguson of Travel Manitoba and Sara Otte Coleman of North Dakota Tourism will speak about the state of Tourism currently in Manitoba and North Dakota and trends for the future. Linda Whitfield of Travel Manitoba will speak of the importance of a strong place brand in the tourism industry. Our Keynote Speaker Ben Winchester, a Rural Sociologist with the University of Minnesota Extension, will join other speakers and panelists to highlight the strengths of small towns and how working together benefits the entire region.



State of Tourism Industry in Manitoba – Colin Ferguson

State of Tourism Industry in North Dakota and video playlist that accompanied the presentation – Sara Otte Coleman

The Importance of Place Branding in Tourism Industry and How Travel Manitoba Can Assist – Linda Whitfield

Keynote Speaker: Ben Winchester, Rural Sociologist, University of Minnesota

Rewriting the Rural Narrative

It seems the rural story has already been told. Small towns keep getting smaller. Churches, schools, businesses, and not post offices, have closed their doors as the lucky few migrate out to the big cities. This deficit framework dominates how we discuss and envision our rural communities. However, the story of rural America since 1970 is rich and diverse, with positive trends occurring under the radar.

Learn how positive changes around migration, community involvement, economic development, and regional living have diversified this landscape that require us to rewrite the narrative of rural community change.


Presentation: Rewriting the Rural Narrative

Holly Courchene, CEO, Indigenous Tourism Manitoba

Indigenous Tourism Manitoba

As the CEO of Indigenous Tourism Manitoba, Holly leads the growth and development of sustainable market-ready and export-ready Indigenous tourism products, and working jointly with Travel Manitoba and Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) to implement the Manitoba Indigenous Tourism Strategy.  Holly was previously employed with ITAC as the Manitoba Regional Coordinator from 2019 – 2022, responsible for supporting entrepreneurs and community-owned tourism enterprises within Manitoba.

Heather LeMoine, Marketing & Research Manager, North Dakota Department of Commerce

North Dakota Tourism Research Briefing

Good data and research are paramount to driving successful tourism marketing and development. There is a lot of data sources available – but what information is most useful?  From economic impact data to visitor metrics, Heather will review the research available to help drive smart tourism planning. 


Presentation: What We Learn From Research

Peter Loewen, Executive Director, Explore Morden Winkler

Explore Morden Winkler Brand

Touching on the character of each entity in the Explore Morden Winkler brand, Peter will discuss what works, what ties each entity together allowing us to be successful and to address any challenges that work to tear us apart. The pandemic exacerbated a lot of the challenges between the RM of Stanley, the city of Morden and the city of Winkler but by recognizing the importance of working together and promoting each other, the direction the region is headed is a positive one.

Florija “Lule” Naas, Destination Red River Region Project Manager, Red River Regional Council

Regional Tourism Through a Rural Lens

Although the Red River region includes a larger city like Grand Forks, communities came together to build greater awareness and promotion of the rural communities and offerings throughout northeast North Dakota. Lule will discuss the successes and challenges in bringing a regional approach to tourism marketing while also highlighting the uniqueness of each area within the region.


Presentation: Regional Tourism Through a Rural Lens

Eve O’Leary, Executive Director, Portage Regional Economic Development

Unlocking the Power of Community: A Guide to Boosting Tourism Success through Collaboration

Amidst the pandemic’s challenges, the Portage Regional Tourism Committee (PRTC) emerged in 2020 to revitalize the Island on the Prairies regional tourism brand for the Portage la Prairie region. From creative programming to inspiring success stories, discover how this dynamic community harnessed the power of their brand to develop a strategy to make Portage la Prairie, one of Manitoba’s premier destinations.

Jackie Tenuta, Vice-President, Destination Management, Travel Manitoba

Garden Tourism: Trends and Market Insights

With a focus on trends and garden tourism insights, this presentation will discuss opportunities and challenges in developing the International Peace Garden and surrounding region as a tourism destination.


Presentation: Garden Tourism: Trends and Market Insights

Passes & Memberships

Day Passes, Annual Membership or Lifetime Memberships can be purchased online for your next visit to the Garden.

Day Pass Rates:

  • Pedestrian/Pedal Bike – $10
  • Military Rate – $15
  • Passenger Vehicle – $15 (off-season rate)
  • Motorcycle (per rider) – $10
  • Tour Bus/Large Groups

Annual Membership – $40
Lifetime Membership – $500