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Tourism Awards

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 industry.

  • The Ben Black Elk Award is presented to an individual or individuals whose enduring devotion dramatically affects South Dakota's visitor industry. The 2017 award was presented to Maureen Droz (Pierre).

    Read more about the Ben Black Elk Award and see the display at the Department of Tourism.
  • 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 recipient of the 2017 award was South Dakota Public Broadcasting.
  • 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 two awards for 2016 were presented to the The Saloon #10 and the Deadwood Social Club (Deadwood) and the Quality Inn and Suites (Watertown).
  • 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 Buffalo Chip (Sturgis) was named the winner for 2016.