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Fall: A Great Time to Visit South Dakota's Great Faces and Great Places

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PIERRE, S.D. – Why is South Dakota a great place to plan a fall getaway? Is it falling prices at the pump? Smaller crowds? The colorful scenery? An abundance of pheasants? Or is it one of the dozens of weekend fall festivals and family events that makes South Dakota an ideal destination? The answer: all of the above. The South Dakota Department of Tourism has launched its fall advertising campaign targeting families, outdoor enthusiasts and empty nesters who want to enjoy South Dakota attractions and scenery but not venture too far from home. The three-tiered, integrated marketing campaign is using newspaper advertising, website marketing, promotions and public relations to attract visitors to the state this fall. Some of the cities targeted by the campaign include: Cheyenne, Wyo., Denver, Colo., Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn., Omaha, Neb., Sioux City, Iowa, Sioux Falls, S.D. and regional media in southwest Minnesota and northwest Iowa. “Attracting travelers is a wonderfully competitive market, and we are continually educating and encouraging travelers to choose South Dakota as their destination of choice,” said Billie Jo Waara, director of the South Dakota Office of Tourism. “We’re building on our award winning advertising and strategic marketing that has made South Dakota the place to visit.” Tourism is also targeting hunters telling them that South Dakota is also THE place to pheasant hunt. The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks recently released the brood count for 2006, and the numbers look good, despite the dry weather. Last year’s pheasant population was estimated at 9.5 million, and this year’s population is in line with that estimate. Game, Fish and Parks expects 2006 to be the second highest pheasant count in 10 years. The Office of Tourism will leverage this information with a direct mail piece to out-of-state hunters in Nebraska, Minnesota, Colorado, Iowa and North Dakota. “Last year, more than 174,000 hunting licenses were sold—more than half of those were to out-of- state hunters,” Waara said. “In 2005, non-resident hunters spent approximately $108.1 million in our state. These hunters aren’t just bagging their limits in the fields; they are also spending money in our towns, our hotels and at restaurants.” The success of both campaigns will be tracked by a variety of methods, including: phone inquiries, Web site visits and response rates. At the conclusion of the campaign, the Office of Tourism will report its efforts to the industry. Tourism is South Dakota’s second largest industry, employing more than 35,000 people in the state, and is a major component of the Governor’s 2010 initiative with the goal of reaching $1.2 billion in tourism revenue by the year 2010.