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eFYI – Featuring Your Industry – February 2018

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Happy March, Tourism Friends!

February was a busy month in the Department of Tourism. We were diligently putting the finishing touches on our 2018 Peak Marketing work, including new TV spots that feature our brand new campaign “Great Faces and Great Places,” print ads, digital ads, billboards and gas pump toppers, radio and podcast spots, and a whole host of other items. Our TV spots will begin airing in markets like Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis and Madison in just a few, short days. We are encouraged by how things are already shaping up for 2018! We have seen the number of inquiries (vacation guide and e-newsletter signups) and visits to our website skyrocket since the first of the year. We hope this trend continues and bodes well for a successful summer.

As many of you know, the annual National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic was recently held in Sioux Falls and drew nearly record-setting crowds, as well as generating tons of enthusiasm from attendees and vendors alike. It was the single largest convention ever held in our state. It was the third largest Pheasant Fest in history, with nearly 29,000 attendees. We want to congratulate Teri Schmidt and her Sioux Falls CVB team for an outstanding job in hosting this convention. They ‘hit it out of the park’ with their hard work, organization, and first-rate hospitality. We also want to thank our many partners from across the state who participated in Pheasant Fest. We can’t wait to see this convention come back to South Dakota in the future!

Several team members and I just returned from a media blitz in New York City. While there, we hosted a special South Dakota reception that drew more than 120 travel writers, journalists, bloggers and influencers from the greater NYC area. We were joined at the reception by Lloyd Shelton from Xanterra/Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Lloyd not only helped us tell our South Dakota story, he also brought along the famous Thomas Jefferson ice cream to serve to our guests. It was a huge hit! A big thank you to Wall Drug Store and Cherry Bean Coffee for your donations and partnership as well. The Mount Rushmore mascots also made an appearance and were instantly mobbed by photo-takers. We had so much positive feedback about our state and about our reception. So many attendees told us it was the best state tourism reception they had ever attended. We are excited to see what kind of future media coverage this event will generate for South Dakota.

Here are few other quick items I would like to bring to your attention:

  1. We are offering our first webinar of the year on Thursday, March 15. The topic of the session is “The Rise of the Hyper-Informed Traveler.” There are more details about this program below and on SDVisit.com. We hope you can join us.

  2. March 30 is the deadline for our Spring Hospitality Training Co-op funds. Up to $1,000 in grant money is available to assist various entities with hospitality training.

  3. We are happy to report that the Department of Tourism’s bill, Senate Bill 59, successfully passed both chambers of the legislature and is making its way down to Governor Daugaard for his signature. The bill will allow the department to offer expanded marketing opportunities within the new Welcome Centers (once they are constructed and open for business). This will be one more avenue for partners to reach potential visitors with a marketing message. We will be working on fine-tuning these opportunities and look forward to sharing them with you in the months ahead.

  4. The Governor’s Tourism Advisory Board will be meeting in the Black Hills, April 18-19. At this point, we are tentatively planning on meeting in the Custer area. We’d love to have you join us for the meeting. We’ll provide more details about the meeting in next month’s e-newsletter.

It won’t be long before warmer weather is heading our way and we begin to see families heading to our state on spring break, and then the busy summer season. If there is any way that we can be of assistance to you over the next few months, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We hope to connect in-person soon!

All our best,




Tourism Webinar Series
Mark your calendar for the next program in the Department of Tourism’s webinar series. Scheduled for Thursday, March 15, Chris Adams of Miles Partnership will present “The Rise of the Hyper-Informed Traveler.” Chris will discuss how travelers planned their trips in 2017 and will share information about creating and distributing the right content to capture their attention in 2018. Contact Kirk Hulstein or Neil Wagner with any questions.

Spring Hospitality Training Co-op
The Department of Tourism is currently taking applications for the 2018 Spring Hospitality Training Co-op. Regional tourism associations, convention and visitors bureaus, chambers of commerce, tribal tourism offices, and economic development corporations have the opportunity to apply for up to $1,000 in matching dollars to be put toward paying speaker fees. The application deadline is March 30. In addition, the Industry Outreach & Development team is currently evaluating the program and will be notifying industry members of any program changes for 2019 in the fall.

Industry Outreach & Development
For more information, contact
Neil Wagner

Interstate Welcome Centers
Friday, April 13, is the deadline for registering for the 2018 Publication Program. Before submitting your registration, please review the program requirements.

The New Effington, Salem (eastbound, westbound), Chamberlain, Vivian and Spearfish locations will open May 14 and will be accepting material during the 2018 season.

Reminder: The Wilmot, Valley Springs and Vermillion Welcome Centers will be closed during the 2018 season as they undergo renovations. Please make sure you do not deliver publications to these locations.

Industry Outreach & Development
For more information, contact
Nate Johnson

Great Service Star Designation for 2018
Plaques and year tabs will be mailed by March 2 for 2018 Great Service Star designees. The Great Service Star logo has already been emailed along with a confirmation letter to approved applicants. Designees should use the logo in marketing, ads, brochures, letterheads, etc. Contact Thad Friedeman for logo files. Current 2018 Great Service Star designees are listed on SDVisit.com. Applications for 2019 will be made available later this year. For more information about the program, contact Neil Wagner.

Global Travel & Trade Visits Austria
In late January, Cole Irwin traveled to Vienna, Linz and Graz as part of an Austrian Trade and Media Mission. He had appointments and trainings with more than 20 travel agents as well as 15 journalists. He also participated in the Visit the USA Austrian Showcase where he was able to present to and train nearly 100 tour operators and travel agents. Also, since The Real America was one of the primary sponsors, South Dakota had additional exposure in signage and video screens around the conference hall.

Global Travel & Trade
For more information, contact
Cole Irwin

American Bus Association
Maureen Droz came out of retirement to help out the Global Travel & Trade team at ABA’s Annual Meeting & Marketplace. Maureen had one-on-one meetings with 47 tour operators, plus she was able to have brief meetings with seven tour operators who couldn’t get scheduled meetings. This year, the department invested in a 20-foot booth outside the convention hall and joined by 14 South Dakota suppliers – plus the presidential mascots – the state was able to generate quite a buzz.

Global Travel & Trade
For more information, contact
Cole Irwin

Media Coverage


(H) = writer was part of a hosting, familiarization tour and/or media visit


Red Tricycle
As a result of taking editor Kristina Moy to the Children’s Museum of South Dakota on last year’s family press trip, she assigned contributor Susie Foresman to cover the museum in her article titled, The Best Museums for Kids in Every State. (H)

Women’s Health Online
Nicoletta Richardson included the Black Hills in her article titled, 15 Romantic Weekend Getaways That You Need to Book ASAP. Richardson recommends a helicopter ride over Mount Rushmore, stargazing in the Badlands, visiting Deadwood, and Rapid City.

Lindsey Stein included the Buffalo Roundup in her article titled, The Ultimate Adventure Travel Bucket List for Thrill Seekers. The article was also picked up by MSN.

USA Today Online
Deadwood’s Chubby Chipmunk was included in Devorah Lev-Tov’s article titled, 50 states: 50 craft chocolate makers. Lev-Tov was also an attendee on the 2016 Mount Rushmore press trip. (H)

Yonder, France
French journalist Mathieu Belay covered South Dakota in his article titled, Road Trip in the USA: The Unknown Wonders of South Dakota. Belay thoroughly covers what to do, where to stay, and what to eat across several communities in the Black Hills. (H)

South Dakota Arts Council News

The South Dakota State Poetry Out Loud competition is coming up March 12 in Sioux Falls. It is free and open to the public, but for those who can’t make it to the live competition, it will be live-streamed on our website. Pictured is Madison Lukomski, last year’s state Poetry Out Loud champion competing in Washington, D.C., at the national finals:
Poetry Out Loud

Last call: March 1 is the deadline for funding applications to the South Dakota Arts Council. Applications are currently being accepted in all major grant categories.

Apply for Artists in Schools & Communities Residency Grants now to ensure funding for next year. The March 1 deadline is for residency activities that will be hosted from July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019.

For more information, contact
South Dakota Arts Council


Important Reminder

Department of Tourism Industry Calendar
Program deadlines, trade shows, international sales missions, and other important dates can be found on the Industry Calendar on SDVisit.com. The calendar is updated regularly and we encourage you to check back throughout the year.


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New Skift Research Report: The State of Tours and Activities 2018 (Skift)

Targeting a New Microgeneration of Luxury Travelers (Skift)

Why Disclosure Is Essential When It Comes to Influencer Marketing (eMarketer)

Facebook Losing Younger Users (eMarketer)

U.S. Travel AssociationU.S. Travel Association Updates

U.S. Travel Outlook, February 2018

U.S. Travel Association's Project: Time Off

Project: Time Off is the U.S. Travel Association’s initiative to prove the personal, business, social and economic benefits that taking earned time off can deliver.

NEW: U.S. Travel Association video report: State of the Travel Industry 2018

South Dakota Department of Tourism

Monthly Progress Report

TravelSouthDakota.com Consumer Site
SDVisit.com Travel and Tourism Industry Site
MediaSD.com Press and Media Site

Travel Professionals Site

Facebook.com Travel Professionals Facebook page
FilmSD.com South Dakota Film Office Site
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Visit www.SDVisit.com
South Dakota Department of Tourism
711 E. Wells Ave.
Pierre, SD 57501