2022 South Dakota Governor's Conference on Tourism


PIERRE, S.D. –  Online registration for the 2022 Governor’s Conference on Tourism is open. The annual conference will take place January 18-20, 2022 in Pierre, S.D. The South Dakota Department of Tourism is encouraging anyone interested in tourism, marketing or hospitality to join.

This year’s theme, “On the Rise,” acknowledges the increased global interest in South Dakota as a vacation destination, as well as the unique ways the tourism industry is changing to give visitors a world-class experience while in the state.

“This conference is a great time for those in the hospitality, tourism and marketing industries to come together and network, make valuable connections, and learn from top-rated keynote speakers,” said James Hagen, Secretary of the Department of Tourism.

The annual conference brings hundreds of people from across South Dakota and the United States together in Pierre to celebrate successes, network with peers, and educate themselves on trends in the travel and hospitality business.

“We have a wonderful lineup of speakers for the 2022 conference,” said Hagen. “This year’s speakers come from diverse backgrounds to bring expert knowledge in the latest marketing trends, leadership, and outlooks for the industry’s future.”

Governor Kristi Noem will honor and recognize industry members for their contributions and efforts during the Awards Night Gala on Thursday evening, January 20.

The following awards will be presented:

  • The Ben Black Elk Award recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the state’s tourism industry.
  • The A.H. Pankow Award recognizes a member of the media or public relations industry who has provided exceptional coverage of South Dakota.
  • The Peter Norbeck Excellence in Tourism Innovation Award honors a member of the South Dakota tourism industry for innovative marketing or new additions/improvements to their business or attraction that elevate the visitor experience.
  • The Ruth Ziolkowski Outstanding Hospitality & Customer Service Award recognizes individuals who provide remarkable customer service and demonstrate an outstanding spirit of hospitality, warmth and genuine kindness to visitors.
  • The Governor’s Rising Star Award recognizes the achievement of an individual new to South Dakota’s tourism industry, but already has made significant impact. This inaugural award will be presented at the 2022 conference.
  • The George S. Mickelson Award honors a business/organization that shows an outstanding dedication to excellence in customer service.
  • The Rooster Rush Cacklin’ Community Award honors a community for fostering support of the Department of Tourism’s fall Rooster Rush campaign.

For more information about the conference or to register, visit www.SouthDakotaTourismConference.com. The deadline for early registration is Monday, December 20.

The South Dakota Department of Tourism is comprised of Tourism and the South Dakota Arts Council. The Department is led by Secretary James D. Hagen.



Katlyn Svendsen, Global Media & Public Relations Director
South Dakota Department of Tourism
Email: [email protected]