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2014 Governor’s Conference on Tourism: Think Big. Think Bold. Think Beyond.


PIERRE, S.D. –The 2014 Governor’s Conference on Tourism will be held Jan. 22-23 in Pierre. The theme of the 2014 conference is Think Big. Think Bold. Think Beyond. During the conference, some of South Dakota’s most influential leaders in the visitor industry will gather to celebrate successes, network with peers and discuss ways to increase visitation to the state.

“The conference theme represents the opportunity that lays in front of our industry as we look to 2014,” said Jim Hagen, Secretary of the Department of Tourism. “As we gather to celebrate our success in 2013, the theme is meant to encourage all of us to dream even bigger in 2014, look beyond our comfort zone and find ways to shine an even bigger spotlight on our state’s visitor offerings.”

Gov. Daugaard also will present the visitor industry’s highest awards during the closing banquet:

  • 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 is unparalleled.
  • The George S. Mickelson Great Service award honors two businesses/organizations, one corporate and one non-corporate, that are dedicated 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, organization or destination.
  • 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.

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