The staff at the Fargo-Moorhead Convention & Visitors Bureau (FM CVB) is dedicated to helping local partners grow their businesses and pushing their capital projects forward to help with recruitment, retention, and just overall happiness of the Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo community.
You may have heard about the FM CVB and pass by the grain elevator Visitors Center now and then, but what are we truly doing to help push projects forward? How are we advocating for visitor-focused businesses to thrive and succeed?
Here are some of the main things our staff as a whole is focused on, as well as some information on how to request grants and get involved in the work the FM CVB is doing.
The Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo CVB works to position our distinctive community as a desirable destination and gateway to the region and nation, resulting in a superior Quality of Life for its residents.
The Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo CVB will be the respected authority on Tourism as an Economic Development strategy that enhances the region’s quality of life.
The Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo CVB will collaboratively develop and promote a shared community vision to enhance the region’s attractiveness for visitors and residents alike.
The Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo community desperately needs more meeting space and a traditional convention center to compete against similarly sized (and smaller) regional cities.
Largest Convention Space in Competitive Destinations:
27,000 square feet total 11,000 square feet ballroom (dividable) 19 total meeting rooms
Delta Hotels by Marriott
23,000 square feet total 15,000 square feet ballroom (dividable) 13 total meeting rooms
Avalon Event Center
15,350 square feet total 6,000 square feet ballroom 6 total meeting rooms
Hilton Garden Inn
15,000 square feet total 10,000 square feet ballroom 7 total meeting rooms
Conventions we’re currently unable to accommodate
Over the years, the CVB has collected a list of lost businesses because of the lack of traditional meeting space. This list continues to grow, and these conferences will continue to move to compete markets until this is rectified.
Unable to Accommodate
America’s Small Business Development Centers Conference
Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
Williston Basin Petroleum Conference
YMCA of the USA
Conventions who have Outgrown Their Space
Education Theatre Association
ND Grocers Association Annual Meeting
Need 12,000 sq ft exhibit + 10,000 sq ft banquet
ND Long-Term Care Spring Conference
ND Safety Council
General session area, 218 booths, 11 breakout rooms (80-160 in each) and an area for safety demos. Lost to Bismarck Civic Center
The direct visitor spending would be $400,000-$500,000 on average for a conference that might move over to a convention center; knowing the event will likely grow to be larger and double in direct visitor spending, you could expect something closer to $1.3 – 1.5 million per event.
The Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo metro area is missing out on millions of dollars in annual visitor spending due to its lack of significant meeting space. Visitors of all kinds (leisure, business, meetings, and sports) greatly contribute to the local economy. In 2022, hotel room nights alone in this metro area accounted for more than $130 million in spending. All of those visitors also spent millions more on shopping, food & beverage, gas, and entertainment.
The tables above list medium to large conferences and conventions that would have come to FMWF, or given it serious consideration, if we had a large enough space to accommodate them. Also on that list are several events that have been coming here but have outgrown, or are about to outgrow, the facilities we currently have. One cold, hard example: the North Dakota Association of Counties has resisted bringing its annual convention to Fargo, the largest city in the state because it can’t find what it deems adequate space.
Those of us who live here often sell our community short as a place to visit, but those of us tasked with attracting visitors know this: people like to come here. We have multiple vibrant entertainments and shopping districts, and visitor amenities rival those of much larger communities. It’s easier to get here than many people think, and the community is visitor friendly in the most essential way, including ease of navigation. We know that building a true convention space will lead to significant growth in the already robust visitor economy here. And we hope the citizens of Fargo will join us in supporting a project to build true convention space.
Performing Arts Center
The CVB is an active Performing Arts Task Force member working towards building a state-of-the-art performing arts center in Downtown Fargo. The task force has conducted multiple feasibility studies to determine whether or not a performing arts center is needed in the community.
During these studies, the current location of the Civic Center in Downtown Fargo was selected as the preferred site for the future home of the Performing Arts Center.
Why should you care?
The presence of performing arts opportunities in a community directly affects the individual residents and the quality of the community as a whole. A thriving performing arts culture increases the propensity of residents to participate in the arts, which in turn increases the community’s attractiveness to tourists, businesses, people, and investment.
What to expect
A 2015 feasibility study demonstrated that a performing arts center in Fargo would be successful and embraced by the public. The study was updated in 2018, and a task force renewed efforts on the project at that time, further studying potential facility sites and building programs.
Funding for the project, which would replace the Fargo Civic Auditorium adjacent to City Hall, would be a combination of the City of Fargo and donated dollars. In 2019, the City engaged a consulting firm to perform a feasibility study on the potential for philanthropic support for the project, the results of which showed positive interest in such a project.
Discussions have continued with an eye toward bringing a proposal forward to the public sometime in 2024 or later. The goal is to develop a facility that will be acoustically desirable for local and touring groups alike and have the appropriate amount of seating to accommodate community groups and touring shows.
Capital Construction Grants
The Fargo-Moorhead Convention & Visitors Bureau Board of Directors manages a Capital Grant Program, funded by one-third (1 penny on the dollar) of the lodging tax levied in Fargo and West Fargo. The entire three percent lodging tax from Moorhead goes to our operating budget, but Moorhead entities can apply for grants. The goal of the grants is to help with destination development throughout the Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo region.
The Board will consider grant requests for projects involving costs related to capital construction that will have a demonstrable and positive effect on the community’s economy. Any such projects must be in an area directly related to tourism.
The FM CVB also provides dollars to help enhance or start events in the community. Previous recipients of these grants and sponsorships include Fargo-Moorhead PRIDE, the Downtown Street Fair, Frostival, the Fargo-Moorhead Studio Crawl, and many more throughout the FM CVB’s fiscal year.