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eFYI – Featuring Your Industry – September 2017

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Happy Fall, Tourism Friends!

I was just reading a news story about the first light dusting of snow on Terry Peak this past Monday. Fall is here! And with the changing of the seasons, our work kicks into another gear here in the Department of Tourism as we continue to push our shoulder season marketing, gear up for our pheasant hunting campaign, put finishing touches on winter marketing, and begin to implement our 2018 peak marketing in November and December. It’s a busy and energizing time for us!

Speaking of pheasant hunting, we are just a few short weeks away from rolling out the orange carpet for hunters from around the nation. Last week, the department issued a press release and infographic reminding both resident and non-resident hunters that, despite the decrease in brood counts in 2017, South Dakota is still home to some of the best pheasant hunting opportunities in the world. We also created a talking points memo and a compelling infographic highlighting the many positives when it comes to pheasant hunting in our state.

As I write this email message to you, some of the team and I will be leaving shortly for the Black Hills, the Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup, and our Buffalo Roundup Familiarization (Fam) Tour. This year, we are hosting 16 outstanding domestic and international travel writers and journalists. We can’t wait to showcase our beautiful state and all of its incredible adventures and attractions to our media guests. The Buffalo Roundup affords us such a special opportunity to showcase an event that is unique in all the world and to put a spotlight on one of the most pristine and beautiful areas of the country. Every year, the travel writers who attend the Buffalo Roundup Fam Tour express to us just how special South Dakota is (and has become to them during their time with us). Year after year, they make comments like, “We had no idea South Dakota was this beautiful!” and “We had no idea what an incredible place this is for visitors!” They fall in love with our landscape and people, and they don’t want to leave! We know that will be the story again this week.

We have some important items that I want to quickly bring to your attention:

  1. Your opportunity to help us with a sponsorship for the Governor’s Conference on Tourism (and still be included in conference print materials) ends October 3! We need your help to put on one of the premiere state tourism conferences in all the country. THANK YOU for your consideration and for your help! We can’t do this without you. If you would like to assist us with a sponsorship, please contact Eileen Bertsch or Natasha Bothun at Sponsorships@TravelSouthDakota.com.

  2. Keep on the lookout for a brand new Tourism Conference website that will debut in late October. The website will be even more mobile-friendly and contain some new features, but will keep the same address: SouthDakotaTourismConference.com. Stay tuned!

  3. Nomination forms for four of the annual Tourism Awards are now available online. New for 2018 is the Ruth Ziolkowski Outstanding Hospitality & Customer Service Award. We are so excited to debut this new award, which will be presented yearly to a member of the South Dakota tourism industry. We are looking for candidates who, like “Mrs. Z,” have demonstrated remarkable service to every customer he or she encounters, and whose work demonstrates an outstanding spirit of hospitality, warmth and genuine kindness. We also will be presenting the Excellence in Tourism Innovation Award, the A.H. Pankow Award, and the Ben Black Award. Please submit worthy candidates for consideration.

  4. We’re also excited to announce a new team member in the Department of Tourism! Neil Wagner, a native of southeastern South Dakota, joined our team a few weeks ago as an Industry Outreach & Development Representative and has hit the ground running. Neil will be spending a lot of his time traveling the state and visiting with all of you. He will serve as a closer connection between our industry and the department. His areas of focus will be agri-tourim, tribal tourism, outdoor adventure and sports tourism. We are eager for you to meet Neil! We will have much more to share about this team in the coming months.

Finally, we want to take this time to THANK all of you for doing such an incredible job this summer and fall in hosting our visitors from around the globe. We have received such excellent feedback from our guests. Keep up the great work! Please let us know if you have any questions about our work or need our assistance in any way. It’s a privilege to work alongside each and every one of you. We hope to see you soon!

All our best,




2018 Governor’s Conference on Tourism
Full conference details and registration will be available soon, both online and in the mail. Don’t forget that things kick off on Tuesday, January 16, with an opening reception. Also, lodging options fill up quickly, so you’re encouraged to make your reservations as soon as possible.

Made in South Dakota Exhibit
To be considered for the 2018 conference, the application deadline for the juried exhibit of products made in South Dakota is Saturday, September 30 (postmarked). If you have questions, please contact Michele Ganschow at Michele.Ganschow@TravelSouthDakota.com.


Tourism Conference Sponsorship
Sponsorship opportunities are still available for the 2018 Governor’s Conference on Tourism. Sponsorship opportunities include cash sponsorships at multiple levels and exhibitor booth rentals. The deadline is Tuesday, October 3. To ensure inclusion in conference print materials, please respond by the deadline.

For more information, contact

2018 Tourism Award Nominations
Nomination forms for four peer-nominated awards presented at the annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism are available online. New for 2018, the Ruth Ziolkowski Outstanding Hospitality & Customer Service Award will recognize an individual for their remarkable customer service and outstanding hospitality. The Excellence in Tourism Innovation Award, first given in 2013, acknowledges innovative marketing, special promotions, or improvements to a business/attraction that cause the industry to take notice. The Ben Black Elk Award, awarded since 1980, recognizes tireless and outstanding contributions to the tourism industry. The fourth award, first presented in 1981, recognizes a member of the media or public relations industry for superior interest in and coverage of the industry, the A.H. Pankow Award. Nominations for all four awards are due by Monday, November 6.

For more information, contact
Harla Jessop

Tourism Welcomes New Staff Member
Neil Wagner joined the Department of Tourism in early September as an Industry Outreach & Development Representative. Neil is a native of Yankton and holds a degree in Finance from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. Prior to joining the Department of Tourism, Neil worked on film sets in Los Angeles and on political campaigns in the Upper Midwest. When he isn’t traveling the state for Tourism, Neil enjoys reading, writing, cheering on the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Minnesota Vikings, and the occasional pro wrestling match. Neil is excited to be back home in South Dakota and to be joining the Industry Outreach & Development team.


Great Service Star Designation for 2018
Great Service Star applications will be accepted through January 31, 2018. However, only those that are received by the extended October 6, 2017, deadline will be considered for the George S. Mickelson Award. Notifications to businesses receiving the designation for 2018 will be made by February 2, 2018. A state-wide press release listing the 2018 designees will go out in February.

For more information, contact
Wanda Goodman

Interstate Welcome Centers
Reminder: At the end of this season, the Wilmot, Valley Springs and Vermillion centers will begin undergoing renovations that will keep them closed during the 2018 season. If you registered with Nate Johnson to collect your leftover publications, you can pick them up from the Valley Springs and Vermillion centers Monday, October 16, through Wednesday, October 18. Publications can only be collected during the specified time frames. Any leftover material that cannot be reused will be recycled.

In an effort to keep industry partners well-informed, the Department of Tourism has created a webpage dedicated to the Rest Area Revitalization Plan. The webpage includes a timeline, frequently asked questions, and a link to the full Rest Area Revitalization Plan report. We will continue to post updates as progress is made on the reconstruction projects and other aspects of the revitalization plan.

Industry Outreach & Development
For more information, contact
Nate Johnson

SDT Hosts International Tour Operators
The Department of Tourism, along with partners throughout the state, hosted 10 international tour operators September 7-14. The tour operators were all travel and product decision-makers in their respective companies in Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands and Italy. Thank you to all of the hosts from across the state, east to west, for the incredible hospitality! This was a fantastic opportunity and we look forward to seeing additional international visitors due to this hosting.

2018 IRU (RMI International Roundup)
Registration for Rocky Mountain International’s 2018 IRU (International Roundup) being held in Kalispell, Montana, April 9-11, is now open. Sign up soon to be part of this unique opportunity to meet and network with international tour operators. If you have any questions please contact Susie Pratt from RMI at SPratt@RMIMarketing.com or Cole Irwin at Cole.Irwin@TravelSouthDakota.com.

We are also excited to announce that the 2019 IRU will be hosted in South Dakota. More details to come.



Media Coverage


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


CBS Sunday Morning
Mount Rushmore was featured in a CBS Sunday Morning segment on September 17. The segment was posted to CBSNews.com in an article titled Mount Rushmore’s chief carver gets his due. (H)

The 2017 Sturgis Camaro Rally was covered by MSN in the post Camaros Invade Sturgis for the 2017 Rally! It mentioned that this year was its biggest year yet for the four-day event.

South Dakota was included in a Wise Bread piece entitled Beyond Disney: 8 Affordable Family Destinations in the US. This coverage resulted from our relationship with staff writer Holly Johnson and our ongoing outreach around South Dakota’s family offerings. It mentioned family-friendly sites like the Corn Palace and Wall Drug. (H)

The Washington Times
Eric Althoff covered South Dakota in his article Treasures of nature and history abound in and around Rapid City for The Washington Times. Writing a first-person narrative of his journey through the Black Hills, Eric highlights Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park, Rapid City, Badlands National Park, Wall Drug, Deadwood and more.(H)

Outdoor Adventure press trip attendee Michael Nolledo featured Badlands National Park in his story There is no place like a sunrise in Badlands National Park for InsideHook. Nolledo comments that “…in person, the unruly assemblage of pinnacles, spires and buttes takes on a new dimension.” (H)

The Sturgis Rally and Buffalo Chip Campground were featured in an AskMen article titled Best gifts for bikers and motorcycle lovers. Attendee Joel Balsam curates a list of gifts and accessories inspired by his experience at the Buffalo Chip. (H)

Southern Living
Freelancer Perri Blumberg featured Deadwood (#1) and Rapid City (#11) in her article Midwestern Getaways Your Southern Girlfriends Will Love for Southern Living Online. Blumberg highlights must-see spots such as the Mickelson Trail and Badlands National Park.

fvw, Germany
South Dakota’s pristine nature and abundant wildlife were featured in the German trade magazine fvw. The article, Grenzenlos glücklich (Boundless Happiness), suggests outdoor fans witness the buffalo in Custer State Park, see the striking colors of the Badlands and tour Wind Cave National Park. (H)

South Dakota Arts Council News

In July, Lt. Gov. Matt Michels was selected to serve as chair of the National Lieutenant Governors Association during the organization’s annual meeting in Nashville. As chair, Michels announced the group’s initiative for the year would be to focus on connecting veterans with opportunities in the arts. Read the full press release on ArtsCouncil.SD.gov.

Poetry Out LoudHigh School students and teachers who are interested in participating in Poetry Out Loud during the 2017-2018 school year are encouraged to contact the South Dakota Arts Council for program information and the POL tool kit.


Important Reminder

Governor’s Hospitality Certificate program
Supervisors, nominate your employees for the Governor’s Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Hospitality and Customer Service. Certificates are awarded to employees who demonstrate excellent customer service above and beyond what is expected. A completed customer/visitor comment card or written letter must accompany the nomination form. Nominations are accepted throughout the calendar year. For more information, contact Wanda Goodman at Wanda.Goodman@TravelSouthDakota.com.


What Social Trends Are Marketers Paying Attention To? (eMarketer)

Isolation Is the Next Big Thing in Luxury Travel (Skift)

What’s the Most Annoying Thing About Email Marketing? (eMarketer)

The Future of Out-Of-Home? It’s Mobile (Adweek / Waze)

Marketing to Millennial Parents: Digital Natives Are All Grown Up and Disrupting the Parenthood Economy (Adweek)

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

U.S. Travel Outlook, September 2017

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.

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