03/13/2013 09:15 am ET Updated Mar 13, 2013

North Dakota Hotel Boom Spans State, Expands Beyond Oil Country (PHOTOS)

North Dakota is getting plenty of attention for its ongoing oil boom, but another sector in the state is likely of more interest to the casual visitor: More than 40 new hotels have opened in North Dakota since 2011 and 39 more are scheduled to open in 2013, tourism officials there say.

A portion of the thousands of new rooms are aimed squarely at roughnecks, but many other hotels are popping up in areas outside the Bakken, where oil is the name of the game.

“While many of North Dakota’s new hotel properties opened in the western part of the state," North Dakota Tourism Director Sara Otte Coleman said in a release, "Eleven hotel properties east of U.S. Highway 83 opened in 2012 or will open in 2013.”

Bismarck will add five new hotels in 2013, Otte Coleman tells HuffPost Travel, after adding four new properties in 2012. A handful of new Cobblestone Inn & Suites properties opened in 2012, with more to come outside the oil region, she adds.

Despite some preconceptions about the state, tourism is an important part of the North Dakota economy. More than 17 million people visited the state in 2012, according to an annual report from North Dakota Tourism, adding $4.8 billion to the local economy.

North Dakota's New Hotels