PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard presented leaders in the visitor industry with the South Dakota Office of Tourism’s top awards Thursday evening.
The Ben Black Elk award was given to Bill Honerkamp. This award recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions to South Dakota’s visitor industry. Honerkamp, past president of the Black Hills Badlands and Lakes Tourism Association, is honored for his long-standing service to South Dakota’s visitor industry.
“Bill is being recognized because of his passion for South Dakota, his gifted writing ability and most importantly his impact as an innovator in tourism marketing,” said Gov. Daugaard.
According to Honerkamp, a few of his greatest accomplishments include setting up the first 1-800 tourism telephone number in the nation, writing South Dakota’s Tourism Tax legislation which is still used today, creating a literature swap system that has been copied throughout the nation, and reaching financial milestones at the Black Hills, Badlands and Lakes Tourism Association.
South Dakota Magazine received the A.H. Pankow Award, which honors a media outlet or individual member of the media whose coverage and promotion of the state’s visitor industry is unparalleled.
“South Dakota Magazine continuously impresses their readers with a variety of stories and beautiful photos in each issue of the magazine; they have an exceptional way of showcasing South Dakota,” said Gov. Daugaard.
Gov. Daugaard presented the George S. Mickelson Great Service Award to WyliePark in Aberdeen and Deadwood Gulch Gaming Resort in Deadwood. This award honors a business, community, or organization that has done an exemplary job of exceeding visitors’ expectations in customer service.
For the second year in a row, the Rooster Rush Cacklin’ Community Award is being presented to a community that showed exceptional dedication to promoting the pheasant hunting season with advertising and promotional events. This year, the award was presented to the community of Watertown at the tourism conference.
The awards were given during the closing banquet of the 2011 Governor’s Conference on Tourism. The Office of Tourism serves under the direction of Secretary Jim Hagen.