PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Office of Tourism soon hopes to share more than just a border with the state of Minnesota. The Office of Tourism wants to extend a thank you to Minnesota for being a great neighbor while also encouraging Minnesotans to come and visit.
Minnesota residents have been strong supporters of South Dakota’s tourism industry, and for that reason the state is kicking off the “Great Neighbor” promotion. The promotion offers Minnesota residents unique vacation packages that were created exclusively for Minnesota families. These packages will only be promoted in Minneapolis and on www.TravelSD.com/Minnesota.
The “Great Neighbor” promotion also involves a comprehensive media campaign in the Minneapolis area that includes network TV, cable TV and newspaper ads, as well as wrapping multiple cars on the Hiawatha light rail line with recognizable South Dakota imagery.
“Minnesotans are inquiring about travel to South Dakota in record numbers. In 2007, more Minnesota families made plans to visit South Dakota than any other state,” said Secretary Richard Benda, Department of Tourism and State Development. “Our hope is to show appreciation for their interest, and to encourage more people to visit South Dakota, either for the first time or to come back and make new memories.”
The Office of Tourism’s research continually shows that Minnesotans are most likely to visit and explore travel opportunities in South Dakota. Overall inquiries from Minnesota residents were 17% higher in January 2008 compared to January 2007. Minnesota car counts at interstate information centers were also up 12.5% from 2006 to 2007. Also in January of 2008, aside from
South Dakota residents, Minnesotans were the most frequent drivers of overall Web traffic to the South Dakota Tourism Web site www.TravelSD.com
“The most visible and unique aspect of the promotion is the light rail train that will be wrapped to feature South Dakota,” said Director Melissa Bump, Office of Tourism. “The South Dakota train cars will be easy to spot with iconic South Dakota images like Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Badlands National Park and buffalo roaming in Custer State Park.”
Both trains will be wrapped for 10 weeks and will begin running on February 26.
The Great Neighbor promotion is part of Goal 1 of the 2010 Initiative to double visitor spending in South Dakota.