PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota was recently named the “Most Promising Destination” in the United States at a National Tourism Award Ceremony held by Tourism Media Group, an official partner of the China Travel Service Association.
“The partnership with our Chinese tourism marketing agency East-West Marketing has brought us tremendous growth in this market,” said James Hagen, Secretary of the Department of Tourism. “This award demonstrates that South Dakota is a destination that Chinese travelers want to visit and experience. We are excited about the potential for growth in the number of Chinese travelers coming to South Dakota in the years and decades to come.”
For seven years, the Department of Tourism has been building relationships with traditional travel agencies and online travel agencies in the Chinese market. The department has launched tour routes to meet outbound travel demand from Chinese tourists, and engaged with Chinese media to keep them informed of the latest South Dakota offerings. Unique marketing campaigns have been launched, including a partnership with DiDi Rental Car, a ride-sharing company similar to Uber and Lyft, that targets tourists who have an interest in road trip vacations.
“In the past seven years, South Dakota has seen a steady increase of Chinese visitors to our state,” said Hagen. “China is the fastest growing group of visitors to the United States and, within a few years, more Chinese visitors will be traveling to the United States than from any other country. It’s an important market for our state, especially since Chinese travelers stay in our country longer and spend more money than other international visitors,” continued Hagen.
Hagen notes that the Department of Tourism is continuing to monitor the Chinese market for potential investment of marketing dollars since the Chinese are typically interested in South Dakota’s monuments, memorials, and Old West and Native American cultures.
The National Tourism Award Ceremony is held by Tourism Media Group, the official media partner of the China Travel Service Association. National Tourism Magazine is a leading tourism industry magazine in China and produced by National Media Group. The magazine produces and distributes 15,000 issues each month, 80 percent of which go to travel agencies. Readers of the magazine include millions of Chinese tourism professionals.
The South Dakota Department of Tourism is comprised of Tourism and the South Dakota Arts Council. The department is led by Secretary James Hagen.