2018 Governor’s Conference on Tourism is “On the Move”


PIERRE, S.D. –The South Dakota Department of Tourism is encouraging tourism industry professionals to join the 2018 Governor’s Conference on Tourism next week, Jan. 16-18, in Pierre.

“The tourism conference, themed ‘On the Move,’ provides a great opportunity for networking, continued education and inspiration,” said James Hagen, Secretary of the Department of Tourism. “South Dakota’s tourism industry has been on the move for years. We’ve come a long way and we’re excited about the future and how our industry continues to grow and attract visitors from around the world.

The annual conference brings nearly 600 people from across South Dakota and the United States together to Pierre to celebrate successes, network with peers and educate themselves on trends in the travel and hospitality business.

“Sessions at this year’s conference are especially pertinent to attendees in 2018,” said Hagen. Nationally recognized speakers and industry experts will be brought in from across the country to share their expertise in specialized categories and speak on topics ranging from customer service training to marketing trends and pressing issues the industry faces, such as the need for finding and retaining workers.

The closing banquet, held Thursday, Jan. 18, honors and recognizes industry leaders. The following awards will be presented:

·         The Ben Black Elk Award recognizes an individual or group whose passion and enthusiasm have greatly influenced South Dakota’s visitor industry.

·         The A.H. Pankow Award recognizes a member of the media whose coverage and promotion of the state’s visitor industry are unparalleled.

·         The George S. Mickelson Great Service Award honors two businesses/organizations— one corporate and one non-corporate — that show an outstanding dedication to excellence in customer service.

·         The Excellence in Tourism Innovation Award honors an industry member for thinking “outside the box” when it comes to promoting their business and elevating the visitor’s experience.

·         The Rooster Rush Cacklin’ Community Award honors an industry organization for fostering community-level support of the Department of Tourism’s fall Rooster Rush campaign.

·         The Ruth Ziolkowski Outstanding Hospitality & Customer Service Award recognizes individuals that have made an effort to provide remarkable service and have demonstrated an outstanding spirit of hospitality, warmth and genuine kindness to visitors.

For more information about the conference or to register, visit www.SouthDakotaTourismConference.com.

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