The South Dakota Department of Tourism Announces Openings at Interstate Information Centers


January 4, 2018

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Department of Tourism is now accepting applications to fill seasonal positions for travel counselors and supervisors at six Welcome Center locations along interstates 29 and 90.

Travel counselors are needed from May through September (or October, depending on location) to assist visitors with travel needs, answer questions and promote South Dakota’s travel opportunities. Applicants must be high school graduates and possess knowledge of South Dakota’s history and visitor attractions, basic computer skills, and excellent communication skills.

The Welcome Centers are open seven days a week from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., and are located along interstates 29 and 90 near New Effington, Salem, Chamberlain, Vivian and Spearfish. There will also be travel counselors stationed within the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site Visitor Center at I-90 Exit 131, which is located about 20 miles east of Wall, S.D.

The centers near Chamberlain and Spearfish will remain open until mid-October to accommodate out-of-state hunters and increased numbers of travelers during the fall season. The Minuteman Missile Site Visitor Center will also be staffed with travel counselors through mid-October. All other centers will close in mid-September.

Seasonal applications may be obtained from South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation offices, or by visiting

The application deadline is Feb. 2, 2018. Contact Nate Johnson with the South Dakota Department of Tourism at 1-800-952-3625 with questions. The employment announcement and the job description can be found at this Dropbox link:

The South Dakota Department of Tourism is comprised of Tourism and the South Dakota Arts Council. The Department is led by Secretary James D. Hagen.

BHSU Students Present Tourism Development Plan to The City of Keystone, South Dakota

Michael Cook, business administration-tourism and hospitality management major from Gillette, Wyo., and other students from Black Hills State University worked with the city of Keystone, S.D. recently to increase awareness of Keystone as a primary tourism destination in the Black Hills and to increase the length of tourists’ stays. Photo: BHSU

By Kimberly Talcott
January 19, 2017

SPEARFISHStudents from Black Hills State University worked with the city of Keystone Chamber of Commerce recently to increase awareness of Keystone, SD as a primary tourism destination in the Black Hills and to increase the length of tourists’ stays.

Over the course of a semester, students in Dr. Ignatius Cahyanto’s Tourism Planning and Development course completed a comprehensive tourism development plan for the town that Mt. Rushmore calls home.

Kirk Hulstein, industry outreach and development director for the South Dakota Department of Tourism, attended the students’ presentation. He said, as a result of the students’ work, Keystone community members walk away with actionable steps they can implement to maximize their potential and position themselves as a tourism destination.

“This type of in-depth research is invaluable as the students take a deep dive approach into the community’s unique opportunities and challenges and provide honest feedback about how visitors perceive their community,” said Hulstein.

The students conducted visitor and resident surveys, interviewed key informants, and tracked online activity throughout the semester. Students also completed a marketing analysis and a plan of action to implement their recommendations.

Jesse Gramm, business administration-tourism and hospitality management major from Burlington, Colo., said this project was especially meaningful because tourism is so important to the state of South Dakota.

“This project better prepared me for my future job by providing me an opportunity to get hands-on experience outside the classroom by working with a real community and preparing a detailed proposal,” said Gramm.

The students also competed an environmental analysis looking at industry, economic and technology trends with impact on Keystone.

Several strengths for Keystone that emerged from the analysis included the lodging accommodations, food and beverage options, and outdoor landscape, along with proximity to Mount Rushmore. A key challenge the students noted was that Keystone is known to tourists as only a daytrip, not an overnight destination. Survey results also noted limits on parking space.

“We suggested the use of parking meters to fund and perhaps expand parking options in the future,” said Gramm.

The BHSU students provided suggestions for Keystone including increasing winter sports, adding additional outdoor recreation areas, marketing Keystone as “the Black Hills Hub,” and incorporating bus tours. Key recommendations by the students included outdoor map design, Snapchat Geofilters, and landmarks or outdoor frames for photo opportunities.

Cameron Fullerton, operations manager for Rushmore Tramway Adventures, attended the students’ final presentation. He said the customer survey portion of the students’ work was the most impactful.

“This information has helped Rushmore Tramway Adventures rethink the placement of our promotions.  We have been utilizing many platforms but the direction has lacked purpose and this project helped redirect our efforts,” said Fullerton. “It has been very valuable working with these students since they carry fresh perspectives.  Without fresh perspectives, it is easy to continue plans that may be outdated and ineffective.”

BHSU students who worked on the project included:

Heidi Huether, business administration-tourism and hospitality management major from Wall
Jessie Gramm, business administration-tourism and hospitality management major from Burlington, Colo.
Kie Tatsukawa, business administration-tourism and hospitality management major from Japan
Michael Cook, business administration-tourism and hospitality management major from Gillette, Wyo.
Logan Miller, business administration-tourism and hospitality management major from Chester
Max Bergstrom, business administration-tourism and hospitality management major from Sturgis

The BHSU School of Business Tourism and Hospitality Management Program will conduct a similar community-based project in fall 2017 and is currently looking for a partner community. Communities interested in partnering with BHSU to develop a strategic plan to foster tourism in their community should contact Dr. Ignatius Cahyanto, assistant professor and program coordinator, at or 605-642-6876.

Mount Rushmore Superintendent Cheryl Schrier to Address “National Parks and Accessibility” At BHSU World Tourism Day Event

By Kimberly Talcott
September 29, 2016

SPEARFISH… The National Parks Service celebrates its 100th birthday this year and Black Hills State University is marking the occasion by hosting a World Tourism Day event.

Dr. Keith Barney, Paralympic athlete and 2002 Winter Olympic torchbearer, presenting on accessible travel. (submitted photo)

BHSU will host the World Tourism Day luncheon, expo, and tourism talk Wednesday, Oct. 5 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Jacket Legacy Room of the David B. Miller Yellow Jacket Student Union in Spearfish.

Globally, World Tourism Day is coordinated each year by the United Nations World Tourism Organization. This year’s theme is “Tourism for All: Promoting Universal Accessibility,” highlighting disability issues in the context of travel and tourism.

Dr. Ignatius Cahyanto, coordinator of World Tourism Day at BHSU, says this is the second year BHSU has hosted a World Tourism Day event.

“The significance of tourism in Black Hills and South Dakota cannot be underestimated,” said Dr. Ignatius Cahyanto, also assistant professor of tourism and hospitality management at BHSU. “After the busy summer months, we’re glad to bring the industry together to discuss the social, cultural, political and economic value of making travel accessible for everyone.”

Cheryl Schrier, Superintendent at Mount Rushmore National Memorial (submitted photo)

Cheryl Schrier, superintendent at Mount Rushmore National Memorial will speak at the event on the topic “National Parks and Accessibility” followed by Paralympic athlete, 2002 Winter Olympic torchbearer, and advocate Dr. Keith Barney discussing “How the ADA Helps and Hurts Accessible Travel.”

Tourism and hospitality businesses from throughout the region will then meet with BHSU students during “business speed networking” where guided questions will be provided for networking.

Other events throughout the week include an exhibition reception Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 5 p.m. announcing the student winners of the World Tourism Day photo contest highlighting the tourism experience in South Dakota. The competition was open to students from all South Dakota universities.

Students in the tourism and hospitality program at BHSU help to plan and organize the events.

“The Travel and Tourism Club at BHSU runs the show,” said Cahyanto. “It’s a great learning experience for them and they take great ownership and pride in this event.”

World Tourism Day at BHSU is sponsored by Black Hills State University, South Dakota Department of Tourism, Crazy Horse Memorial, LIV Hospitality, Rocky Mountain International, Black Hills & Badlands Tourism Association, and the Rapid City Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Schatz-Thune Bill to Improve and Grow Tourism in Native Communities Heads to the President’s Desk

 Bipartisan NATIVE Act Passes House, Set to Become Law

WASHINGTON The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience (NATIVE) Act, bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) that will enhance and integrate native tourism, empower native communities, and expand unique cultural tourism opportunities in the United States. The bill, which passed in the Senate in April, now heads to the president for his signature.

“I’m glad the NATIVE Act received the same broad bipartisan support this week in the House as it did earlier this year in the Senate,” said Thune. “This is a good, common-sense bill that will have a real impact in tribal communities throughout the country, including the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota nations in South Dakota. I want to thank Sen. Schatz for his strong partnership in helping get this legislation to the president’s desk for his signature.” 

“This bill will empower native communities to tell their own stories and build their own economic opportunities. For too long, tourism has focused on so-called major destinations and while that’s important, we have the opportunity to support cultural revitalization and economic renewal through the passage of this bill,” said Schatz. “Visitors are increasingly seeking out a more authentic and historically rich travel experience, and there is nothing more authentic and unique than the cultural tourism experience our native communities provide.”

The NATIVE Act will require federal agencies with tourism assets and responsibilities to include tribes and native organizations in national tourism efforts and strategic planning. It will also provide Native Hawaiian, Alaska Native, and American Indian communities with access to resources and technical assistance needed to build sustainable recreational and cultural travel and tourism infrastructure and capacity; spur economic development, and create good jobs.

U.S. Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) are cosponsors of the NATIVE Act.

“The NATIVE Act is a strong piece of legislation that will drive economic growth not only in areas that house Native lands and cultural attractions, but also for communities in every corner of the country,” said U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow. “We are pleased to see our lawmakers prioritize a measure that expands travel and tourism promotion opportunities for these lands—particularly allowing them to attract more international visitors, whose trips often have a tremendous positive ripple effect on the surrounding local economy. We applaud the House for advancing this bill, and thank Sen. Schatz for his leadership on the NATIVE Act, along with his consistent dedication to facilitating travel across the United States.”

The NATIVE Act is supported by a broad coalition of stakeholders including the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association, Sovereign Councils of the Hawaiian Homeland Assembly, U.S. Travel Association, American Indian and Alaska Native Tourism Association, Southeast Tourism Society, Western States Tourism Policy Council, National Congress of American Indians, Alaska Federation of Natives, and the Native Enterprise Initiative of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) led companion legislation in the House of Representatives.