PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Office of Tourism is encouraging South Dakotans to explore the vacation opportunities in their own backyard. The campaign, called See South Dakota Week, also stresses the importance the visitor industry has on local economies.
“South Dakota is full of its own treasures such as community festivals and destinations off the beaten path,” said Billie Jo Waara, director of the Office of Tourism. “See South Dakota Week is a great opportunity for us to showcase those treasures and encourage South Dakotans to explore their own state. Our residents are a valuable part of the visitor industry and are a tremendous resource in helping us promote South Dakota.”
“See South Dakota Week” is a collaborative effort between the Office of Tourism and the Aberdeen, Brookings, Chamberlain/Oacoma, Deadwood, Huron, Mitchell, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Spearfish, Watertown and Yankton Chamber & Visitors Bureaus. Part of Tourism’s efforts to market to South Dakotans includes a direct mail piece that features unique events and local flavor throughout the state.
Tourism has a significant impact on South Dakota’s economy. Last year, visitors spent nearly $865 million on everything from lodging to souvenirs, which had a $2.16 billion impact on the state’s economy.
2006 South Dakota Tourism Facts:
- Visitor spending:
o $864,855,345 compared to $809,402,850 in 2005
o This represents a 6.9% increase
- Distribution of visitor spending:
o 58.8% western South Dakota
o 41.2% eastern South Dakota
- Economic impact: $2.16 billion statewide
- Employment traceable to visitor industry: 33,908
- Gas and sales tax revenue: $45.8 million
See South Dakota Week is promoted in conjunction with See America Week, which was established in 1983 by the Travel Industry Association of America to promote the importance of travel and tourism as a major U.S. industry.
See South Dakota Week is part of Goal 1 of the 2010 initiative to double visitor spending in South Dakota. The Office of Tourism serves under the direction of Richard Benda, Secretary of the Department of Tourism and State Development.