PIERRE, S.D. – Paul Besselievre’s dedication to the tourism industry and the Black Hills of South Dakota makes him one of South Dakota’s Great Faces.
Besselievre served as the Executive Director of the Black Hills, Badlands, and Lakes Tourism Association from 1954-1969. During that time, “lakes” was added to the title of the association. Dams were closing for construction along the Missouri River, and Gov. Nils Boe asked the tourism association to promote the “lakes” or new reservoirs on the Missouri River through their association.
Under Besselievre’s direction, the tourism group began producing the publication “This Week in the Black Hills,” which transformed into the present day “Exploring” magazine.
Besselievre created the vacation guide, which initially was a small guide to motels in the Black Hills. Several years of changes and additions made the guide the vacation publication that is known today. It was because of Besselievre’s inspiration that South Dakota has a statewide vacation guide that is more than 200 pages long.
Besselievre worked diligently to promote the Black Hills. He was well known in the travel show circuit and endlessly worked to encourage travelers to visit South Dakota. Besselievre cultivated press from national publications by inviting their travel editors on press trips showcasing the Black Hills.
South Dakota’s Great Faces weekly press release series is a project of the South Dakota Office of Tourism, designed to highlight people who have had significant impacts on South Dakota, particularly in the visitor industry. Click on the special “South Dakota’s Great Faces” link at www.MediaSD.com to access the complete list of articles.
For more information on South Dakota’s four tourism associations visit, Black Hills Badlands and Lakes Tourism Association, www.blackhillsbadlands.com; Southeast Tourism Association, www.southeastsouthdakota.com; Glacial Lakes and Prairies Tourism Association, www.sdglaciallakes.com; Great Lakes Tourism Association, www.sdgreatlakes.org.
Information for this release was obtained from the Rapid City Journal, Black Hills, Badlands and Lakes Tourism Association and an interview with Bill Honerkamp.
Photo provided by Black Hills, Badlands and Lakes Tourism Association. Besselievre is the man standing behind the counter.