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Industry Prepares for Peak Tourism Season

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PIERRE, S.D. – Over 1,000 professionals from throughout the state geared up for the peak tourism season in South Dakota last month by attending one of the eight hospitality training workshops conducted around the state.

Training sessions were held in Brandon Valley, Chamberlain/Oacoma, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Watertown, Winner and Yankton. Those who participated learned more about topics like approachability, developing positive relationships with guests and the basics of customer service.

"Everyone in this industry can benefit from a refresher course in customer service," said Billie Jo Waara, director of the SD Office of Tourism. "South Dakota is known for its hospitality, and it’s important our front-line employees know how to take care of our visitors."

High attendance numbers across the state reflect strong support for the tourism industry in South Dakota, which brought in just under $865 million in visitor spending last year.

"Interest is high among South Dakotans in promoting tourism and welcoming visitors to the state," Waara added. "The visitor industry is dedicated to keeping South Dakota’s tourism strong."

The Spring Hospitality Training Programs meet one of the requirements of the South Dakota Office of Tourism’s Great Service Star program, which 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.