April 9, 2020
Dear Industry Partners,
In an email I sent at the onset of this pandemic, I shared that I wouldn’t sugarcoat things, and that we could expect things related to the coronavirus to get even tougher. Boy, have they ever. Who could have guessed when we gathered at the Tourism Conference in January to prepare for the year ahead that things would change so dramatically?
Before I go any further, how are you doing? Are you hanging in there? We know just how very rough these past weeks have been. On a daily basis, I am visiting with tourism friends around the state. The fear and the questions many of you have about your futures and those of your loved ones, friends, neighbors, and employees are palpable. It’s so difficult not knowing what tomorrow, next week, or next month may bring.
We want you to know that we are here for you. We will continue to do everything in our power to bring this industry, your businesses, your communities, and our economy back to what they were before the COVID-19 virus began to dominate our every waking hour. Your team in the Department of Tourism is already laying the groundwork to make sure that we are ready to roll when things get back to normal and we can once again inspire visitors to experience our Great Places.
With that, I’d like to share with you a webinar we recorded yesterday. In it, you will hear a message from Governor Noem. We are grateful that she could join us for the event. You will also hear the very latest research regarding consumers and what they are thinking about this pandemic and how it’s affecting their travel plans. Finally, you will hear more about our current marketing efforts and a new campaign we are working on to entice travelers to our state when the time is right. You can access the webinar recording here and the webinar deck here. You can also take a look at a brand new video we have produced for the industry that showcases our new marketing campaign and includes a mockup of the new consumer spot being worked on now. We ask you to not reuse or reshare this video until we have the final takes ready for you in the coming weeks. If you have any questions once you have viewed the webinar, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. I can be contacted at [email protected].
I want to leave you with this message: We will weather this storm. Together. Hard decisions have been made, and swift actions are being put into place to help us recover as quickly as possible. Three waves of legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by the president contain provisions that will help businesses in the travel and tourism industry. Governor Noem has created a relief loan program for South Dakota businesses. These aid and relief programs are temporary bridges to help get over these troubled waters. Our tourism businesses will need more, so know that we'll keep working hard and advocating for additional relief. Keep checking SDVisit.com/covid-19 for the latest information about the virus as well as aid and relief programs.
The team and I want to wish you and your families a blessed Easter. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Please stay safe and well.
All our best,
Jim and Team
Secretary of Tourism