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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. For 2016, awards were presented to two deserving individuals: Joe Muller (Hot Springs) and Doug Hofer (Pierre).
- 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 2016 award was Jodi Schwan (Sioux Falls).
- 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 2015 were presented to the Akta Lakota Museum (Chamberlain) and ClubHouse Hotel and Suites (Sioux Falls).
- 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 Children’s Museum of South Dakota (Brookings) was named the 2016 winner.
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