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Each year at the annual South Dakota Governor's Conference on Tourism,
awards are presented to outstanding members or organizations that have
contributed to the state's visitor
- The Ben Black Elk Award
is presented to an individual or individuals whose enduring devotion dramatically
affects South Dakota's visitor industry. The 2015 award winner was John Brockelsby (Rapid City).
- The A.H. Pankow Award honors a member of
the print or broadcast media or public relations industry who has shown superior interest in
and coverage of the South Dakota visitor industry. The 2015 award winner
was John Christopher Fine (Scarsdale, New York).
- The George S. Mickelson Great Service Award honors a
business or organization that promotes hospitality and strives to keep it a leading
tourism marketing tool. The winners of the two awards for 2014 were the
Great Plains Zoo (Sioux Falls) and Comfort Suites Hotel & Convention Center (Rapid City).
- The Excellence in Tourism Innovation Award honors an industry partner for its innovative thinking in marketing or special promotion. This award is presented by the Department of Tourism on a case-by-case basis. The 2015 recipient of the award was
Strawbale Winery (Renner).
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