PIERRE, S.D. – For the second year in a row, Governor Rounds has added an additional $1 million to the South Dakota Office of Tourism’s budget for new marketing initiatives. Tourism organizations can apply for the Million Dollar Challenge, having met and followed the program requirements set by the Office of Tourism.
"Year one of this program was definitely a success," said Richard Benda, secretary of the Department of Tourism and State Development. "This continued financial investment by the Governor and legislators to assist our communities in marketing their events has gone a long way toward not only increasing out-of-state visitation, but giving South Dakotans a whole new reason to see their own state."
Twenty organizations participated in the 2008 Million Dollar Challenge, and many saw higher numbers of visitors as a result. For example, the traveling Norman Rockwell Exhibit at the Redlin Art Center in Watertown saw 20 percent more visitors in June over the year prior. The A T. Rex named Sue traveling exhibit has also drawn a significant number of visitors. As of early July, 5800 people from 10 countries and 45 states have traveled to Faith to visit the exhibit.
"Our cooperative marketing efforts with the Office of Tourism have enabled us to reach a much larger audience, and we hear from visitors every day who saw the billboards, print ads and brochures we have worked hard to distribute," said Julie Ranum, executive director of the Redlin Art Center. "We’re grateful for the governor’s investment in the state and our industry."
The next deadline for applications is August 22. Program requirements, applications and additional information on the Million Dollar Challenge are available at www.SDVisit.com. Contact Melissa Bump, Director of Tourism, at (605) 773-3301, firstname.lastname@example.org or Nicole Gall, Visitor Industry Relations Manager, at (605) 773-3301, email@example.com.
The Million Dollar Challenge program is part of the 2010 Initiative to double visitor spending in South Dakota.