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Department of Tourism Encouraging Industry to ‘Be Monumental’ at Governor’s Conference on Tourism


PIERRE, S.D. –The South Dakota Department of Tourism will host the annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism, Jan. 19-21, 2016, in Pierre, S.D. The theme of the conference is “Be Monumental.”

“The theme for the 2016 conference speaks to an innate drive in the tourism industry to continually be thinking big and looking for ways to innovate,” said Jim Hagen, Secretary of the Department of Tourism. “With the 75th anniversary of Mt. Rushmore’s completion and the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service both falling in 2016, this message is more appropriate than ever, and we hope to inspire conference attendees to be bold and think monumentally in the coming year.”

This annual conference brings together nearly 600 people from across South Dakota and the United States to celebrate successes, network with peers, and educate themselves on the trends in the travel and hospitality business. Expert speakers are brought in from across the country with specialties in a diverse range of topics including customer service training, marketing trends and leadership skills.

In addition to expert-led sessions, there will be a closing banquet featuring Gov. Dennis Daugaard presenting the annual tourism awards. 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 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 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.

For more information about the conference, or to register, visit

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



Wanda Goodman
South Dakota Department of Tourism
Phone: 605-773-3301