PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Office of Tourism recently completed its updated 2009-2010 Group Tour Planning Guide, a tool which aids domestic and international tour operators in planning their group tours to South Dakota.
The 100-plus page planning guide includes sections on major attractions and events; bus tour escort notes; Native American culture; itineraries; cities, attractions, shopping and entertainment; gaming; accommodations and restaurants; and receptive operators.
“Counts from South Dakota’s Interstate Information Centers (1) report that in 2008, 492 motorcoach tours came through South Dakota, which brought in approximately 19,665 visitors,” said Richard Benda, secretary of the Department of Tourism and State Development. “This represents a 6.7% increase in the number of tours in 2008 over 2007.”
The Group Tour Planning Guide is the primary piece the Office of Tourism uses for domestic and international tour operator requests, AAA counselor and travel agent requests, and trade show follow-up.
“Group tours have a substantial impact on the state and on the local communities in which they stop,” said Melissa Bump, director of the South Dakota Office of Tourism. “A fully loaded motorcoach tour of 46 passengers, making an overnight stay, contributes as much as $12,000 (2) to the local economy from meals, lodging and other spending by tour participants.”
The Group Tour Planning Guide is updated and reprinted every two years in cooperation with tourism industry businesses throughout South Dakota. Publication of the Group Tour Planning Guide is part of Goal 1 of the 2010 initiative to double visitor spending in South Dakota.
(1) Stats are from June 26 – October 31, 2008.
(2) Economic impact estimate from the American Bus Association.