South Dakota Office of Tourism - sitemap

Monthly Reports: January 2004

January 2004

   MEMORANDUM TO:  Marty Davis

   DATE: February 6, 2004

   FROM: Patricia Van Gerpen

   SUBJECT: Tourism’s January Monthly Status Report

You may download and print the entire January Report  in Adobe Acrobat (PDF).


2010 Initiative
Governor's Conference on Tourism
Rural Tourism Development
Public Relations
Group Tour
Film Office
Information Centers
Occupancy Data
Lewis and Clark Promotions
Native American Tourism
Travel Market Advertising

Travel News Television
Winter Campaign
World Wide Web

Governor's Tourism Advisory Board
Great Events
Great Shoulder Events
Department Funding


Continued working on aspects of Goal One regarding niche markets and advertising plans.

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Completed conference preparations of speakers’ arrangements and contracts, Wednesday reception, legislative invitations, signage and room set up, Governor’s Tourism Advisory Board duties, registration and handouts, meal functions/decorations, and booths.  Began compiling comments from conference evaluations.  Final conference attendance numbers include: 499 full registrations and 577 were served at the Thursday banquet.  In 2003, there were 500 full registrations and 610 were served at the Thursday banquet.  The Annual Report and other research/studies were distributed to attendees and posted on

Award recipients included: the 1880 Train/Black Hills Central Railroad – Bob, Jo Anna, and Meg Warder – for the George S. Mickelson Great Service Award; Bill and Sharon Costner accepted on behalf of Kevin Costner and “Dances with Wolves” for the A.H. Pankow Award; and the Casey family accepted on behalf of Dr. Dennis “Doc” Casey for the Ben Black Elk Award.

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Redesigned front cover and updated inside pages of Tourism Assistance Directory.  Met with a representative of the South Dakota Rural Development Council (SDRDC) and staff of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development to discuss details of a Resource Directory the SDRDC will be producing.

Scheduled a presentation to the Winner Christian Women’s Club that will focus on summer travel in South Dakota.

Due to scheduling conflicts, the Farm/Ranch workshops will be held in May.  We plan to offer the same information from these workshops at DakotaFest in Mitchell this summer.

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Met with CVB staff members to discuss plans for National Tourism Week, May 8-16.  Held planning meeting to discuss the campaign, and the group decided to keep last year’s theme and enhance it: “Have You Been To…? Campaign.”

Finalized venue details for a media blitz in New York City in February.  Reviewed and edited invitation list.  Began researching options for media appointments before and after the reception.  Completed story ideas and other information for journalists.

Finalized and hosted representatives for the 2004 Winter Weather Meteorologist Tour. 

Working with a Black Hills organization to increase awareness of the Mickelson Trail by contacting media with ties to biking magazines.

Fulfilled requests and/or provided interviews to KOTA radio; South Dakota Public Radio; KCCR radio; Dakota Radio Group, Sioux Falls; Depot radio, Brookings; KELO TV; KDLT TV; Love & Marriage Bride’s Guide, New Jersey; Rand McNally, Illinois; Ambassadair Travel Club/Journey Magazine, Indiana; Omaha World-Herald; KXJB TV, Fargo; Going on Faith magazine; Wyoming Tourism Office; Courier magazine; and Prairie Business Magazine, North Dakota.

Press hits with circulation and estimated ad equivalence include Rapid City Journal (35,465) three articles for ad equivalence of $793; Sioux Falls Argus Leader (73,167) two articles for ad equivalence of $594; Aberdeen American News (18,000) three articles for ad equivalence of $ 1,632; and Capital Journal (4,636) two articles for ad equivalence of $311.  Total ad value of $3,330.

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Worked with Bureau of Information and Telecommunications to fix a potential server/DNS problem that affects access for certain users in Germany.

Fulfilled requests for information to C+NG Travelers, Connecticut; Travel Gallery, New York; Travelin’ Seniors and Michelle Reed, Louisiana; Capitol Tours, Inc, Illinois; Buckeye Beeline Tours, Ohio; Lighthouse Tours, Oregon; David Boston and Roger Mory, Pennsylvania; Seniors Unlimited, Michigan; Jan Doets America Tours, The Netherlands; American Travel Service, Norway; Tour-rific Bus tours, Canada; and Irwin Gabriel, Germany.

Made changes to listings on the toursdakota web site, per partner request; updated News Items; and added 2Nation tours itineraries.

Contacted by Tours to Perfection, Georgia.  They participated in a group leader fam in 1993, which has resulted in many tours by church groups.  This company is bringing their own group tour and will be following the path of the fam, incorporating many of those attractions and some new ones.

Submitted information for 2Nations binders on golf courses in South Dakota.  Contacted 2 Nations partners in North Dakota, Minnesota, and Manitoba regarding agenda items for the meeting in March in Minneapolis.  The day prior to the 2Nation partner meeting, Tourism will participate in Group Tour Expo, Minnesota.

Finalized arrangements at Ramkota for International Seminar and Workshop held the day after the Tourism Conference.  There were 60 people in attendance.  Speakers included Rocky Mountain International (RMI) staff, Gary Schluter of Rocky Mountain Holiday Tours, Michelle Thomson of Rapid City CVB, Jim Didier of Hotel Alex Johnson, and Tourism staff. 

Sent American Bus Association (ABA) Marketplace information and appointment schedule to South Dakota delegates attending ABA.  Attended marketplace in New York City and met with 25 tour operators.  Completed National Tour Association (NTA) follow-up to 61 leads.  Worked to develop a Lead List Report which has been placed online at 

During Benelux Mission tradeshow, worked booth as part of RMI marketing partnership.  Met with Special Traffic to give updates on the RMI region and with Wereld contact to give update on the region’s attractions.  Presented two staff trainings and RMI slide show to TUI.  Made presentation and updated Player Travel & Tours staff on what’s new in the state/region.  Met with Stichting Het Buitenhof and presented slide show.  This company is featuring a new tour of the region in their catalog.  Gave two presentations for staff at Jan Doets.  Participated in booth for consumer days at Vakantiebeurs Utrecht for two days with very positive response.  Many are planning to visit South Dakota and the RMI region this year.

Received catalog of Nippon Express, Japan, which features South Dakota/Wyoming tour.  This is a result of a hosting with Rapid City last fall.

Contacted Alliance of Tribal Tourism Advocates, Pine Ridge Chamber, and other contacts in Pine Ridge for a Belgian journalist fam in early February for research on an article and TV show.

Sent general information and Native American information/contacts to a French radio show representative to help with research for a radio show and possible article and a fam in early May.

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Continued to develop the AAA counselors’ e-mail database to relay news and tidbits on travel, South Dakota highlights, information on events, a literature request form, and more. 

Fulfilled requests to AAA/CAA offices and independent travel agencies in California, Indiana, Nebraska, and Virginia.

Organized trip to Ohio and Pennsylvania for seminars for AAA counselors – two seminars in Cincinnati, Ohio; one in Dayton, Ohio; two seminars for the Reading, Pennsylvania, AAA Club; and will attend AAA Travel Odyssey in Reading.

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Made updates to the 2004 edition of the Guides and Outfitters booklet.  These listings are provided free of charge to the industry.  The booklets are distributed at travel shows and in fishing and hunting packets.

Began planning 2004 ads for birding publications: Audubon and Birder’s World.

Continued following up on Outdoor News requests.

Finalized plans to host media on a turkey hunt in the Black Hills in April.  Currently have three media firms’ representatives on board.

Working with media to put together a spring snow goose hunt near Aberdeen.  Date will depend on the snow goose migration, but will probably be in late March or early April.

Continued contacting media for a spring birding locations fam in the Southeast in May.

Finalized plans with media and guides for an ice-fishing fam in the Glacial Lakes region in February.

Continued plans to bring Field & Stream Radio to the state in October for remote broadcast.

Continued plans for a Fishing/Lewis and Clark Trail fam in Pierre in June.  Worked to obtain guides, sponsors, and speakers.

Made plans to attend SHOT Show in February.  Began setting up appointments with media who are attending.

Provided information and/or interviews to Aberdeen American News, Sioux Falls Argus Leader, Tony Dean Outdoors, KDLT TV, SnowGoer magazine, Fargo Forum, KCCI-TV in Des Moines, WildBird, Birder’s World, Sportsman’s Channel, and North Platte Telegraph

Assisted the Campground Coalition with their annual guidebook.

Press hits with circulation and ad equivalence include Aberdeen American News (18,000) for ad equivalence of $144 and North Platte Telegraph (13,722) for ad equivalence of $495.  Total ad value of $639. 

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Contacted by RSA, Los Angeles and New York, regarding locations and permits for a film for the United Kingdom markets.  Contacted by a New York film company regarding locations for a car commercial.

Finalized arrangements for the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, which included a four-state reception and sponsorship.  Worked on promotional plan for the Black Hills Microcinema Film Festival and with organizers on advertising for the Native American Film Festival.

Contacted by a production firm in Minneapolis regarding a feature and another South Dakota feature film in the works.  Contacted by a producer in Los Angeles regarding locations for his feature.  Sent photofiles and location information.  Completed follow-up to producer of Hildago.

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Updated the job announcement for Information Center travel counselors for posting with the Bureau of Personnel.  Have received 70 applications.  Started planning the Information Center training tour, May 3-7.  Researched uniforms for the Travel Counselors.

Received 2,450 comment cards from visitors in 2003.

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For 2003, there are 984 individuals/businesses who have received recognition for hospitality with the Governor’s Certificate, 390 have received the foil star for a second recognition, and 201 have received a gold lapel pin for a third recognition.

The management training seminar will be held in Pierre at the Best Western Ramkota on April 22.  Registration flyers will be sent in March. 

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Total FY2004 Inquiries through 02-01-04

Mail:   52,624
Internet (e-mail):
Phone:      9,685
Total: 105,142

Total FY2003 Inquiries through 02-01-03:

Mail: 32,500
Internet (e-mail): 37,947
Phone:  10,478
Total: 80,925

This is an overall increase in inquiries of 29.9 percent over FY2003.  (This does not include hits/visits to Tourism’s Web site.)

Calculated number of page views at 753,238 on Tourism’s web site for the period of January 1-31, 2003, (missing three days) for a daily average of 26,901 over a 28-day period.  This compares to calculated page views of 507,393 for the period of January 1-31, 2003, (missing two days) for a daily average of 18,121 over a 28-day period.  This is an increase in daily average of page views of 48.5 percent over a comparable time period in 2003.  “Page views” represents the number of times each and every page within the web site is accessed.

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Smith Travel Research
State December
% change compared to December 2002
North Dakota 47.9% 10.6%
Minnesota 45.3% 6.3%
Montana 37.6% 5.6%
Nebraska 39.6% 5.6%
South Dakota 38.5% 4.1%
Wyoming 36.8% 3.4%
Iowa 43.4% 2.1%

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Reviewed Lewis and Clark (L&C) Minutes and sent suggestions to contact at South Dakota Public Television.

Attended the Signature Event coordinators meeting in St. Louis, Missouri.  Committee members from Monticello and the Falls of the Ohio events presented information on their Signature Events experiences.  Other topics included partnering with federal agencies, working with the Trail Heritage Foundation, and American Indian involvement in the planning of Signature Events.  Attended the Circle of State Advisors meeting.  Representatives from states along the L&C Trail gave updates on Bicentennial activities in their area.

Worked on letter, theme, and labels for the L&C Essay Contest mailing for South Dakota fourth graders.

Worked on details for the February 18 L&C Corps of Rediscovery statewide meeting that will be held at the Pierre Chamber. 

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Representatives of the Alliance of Tribal Tourism Advocates, Daphne Richards-Cook and Denelle High Elk, will be giving updates on Signature Event plans and the Circle of Tribal Advisors meeting they attended in St. Louis during the February 18 Corps of Rediscovery meeting in Pierre. 

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Fulfilled requests to State Publishing, Department of Game, Fish and Parks, and Burke and Associates Real Estate, Pierre; South Dakota magazine, Yankton; Lawrence and Schiller and a freelance designer, Sioux Falls; Hot Pink Ink and RapidNet, Rapid City; a freelance writer, Wisconsin; Love and Marriage’s Bride’s Guide, New Jersey; North Star Publishing, Minnesota; a logo designer, Arizona; Prairie Business magazine, North Dakota; and a freelance writer, Michigan.

Fulfilled video requests: stock tape to Mitch Drew and NowTV in Surrey, British Columbia, for use in a promotional video; Paulson Communications, Sioux Falls, for a healthcare commercial.

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Designed full-page package ad plus travel directory ad to be placed in March/April issue of Midwest Living.

Arranged for the printing of Great Getaways newspaper insert, an 8-page, 4-color insert to be placed in 27 regional newspapers from April 25 through May 23 in Manitoba, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota for a circulation of 1.37 million.

Worked on design and arranging for the production of a 4-color ad to be placed in specific Iowa newspapers to promote insertion of the spring 2004 Great Getaways. 

Designed and arranged for the printing of 4.14 million Giant Step magazine inserts, a 16-page, 4-color booklet to be inserted into five different Meredith Company publications: April issue of Better Homes & Gardens, May issues of Country Home and More, May/June issue of Midwest Living, and June issue of Ladies Home Journal for distribution in Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and South Dakota, plus the metro areas of Kansas City, Missouri, and Dallas, Texas.

Created a number of banners for 4Parks campaign that were needed for “added value” placements and requested creative materials from partners.  Scanned photos and burned a CD with numerous Rushmore area images and sent to contacts in Montana.

Sent a “New Year” themed Travelsmart to nearly 90,000 subscribers.  Worked with the new e-mail hosting company to discover ways to minimize spam complaints from our AOL members.  Responded to several inquiries that came from this mailing.

E-mailed weekly Road Trip updates to South Dakotans on the Travelsmart list.  Packages were in Deadwood, Murdo, and Mitchell.

Sent weekly newspaper ads for placement in Travel sections of Sunday editions.  The ads promoted two packages in Sioux Falls, one in Rapid City, and one at a Black Hills’ Bed & Breakfast.  Sent ad for February for a sweetheart package in Sioux Falls.

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Completed updates for Tourism’s pages in the Vacation Guide and revised Calendar of Events.  Selected and scanned new photos.  Received PDF of map and sent to printer.  Sent appropriate pages to Custer State Park and Crazy Horse for their review and approval.  Sent PDFs to Black Hills, Badlands and Lakes Association for layout and index purposes.

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Continued working on outline of the 2004 video.  Began editing video and organizing other footage designated for the 2004 show.

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Sent winter video and Deadwood video to Lawrence and Schiller to use in a winter campaign TV spot.

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On Created a new header graphic for the Winter Stay and Play Giveaway, fixed a number of broken images on the Wildlife Sounds page, updated the Advertised Packages page, and updated the Visitor Services Directory to show 4,585 entries.

Ran ranking checks using various keywords and phrases on Google to ensure our position hadn’t suffered from recent updates to Google’s search engine.

Made minor changes and corrections to and began adding 2Nation Tour information to the itineraries section of  Worked with Bureau of Information and Telecommunications to continue with the transition of and to the state’s server.

Promoted packages via Travelsmart and a package ad is running in the January/February issue of Midwest Living.  There are 65 online vacation packages and 7 coupons listed on  Submitted packages to

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Distributed the Annual Report, Economic Impact Study, Occupancy Report, and the Intercept Study at the Tourism Conference.  Complete studies are available on

Compiled fourth quarter and year-end web survey report. Sent prize packages to winners from Minnesota and California.  Survey results for the fourth quarter were compiled from 288 respondents and include:

72 percent had been to South Dakota before

79 percent said they are planning a trip to South Dakota in the upcoming year

82 percent said answered all of their travel questions

95 percent said they would recommend the site to another traveler

30 percent were referred to by a search engine

26 percent indicated it was their first time visiting

50 percent of the respondents are female; 45 percent
            are male; 4 percent declined to answer

75 percent are married

29 percent have children under 18 living at home

44 percent of the respondents are from the target states
            of Illinois (29), Minnesota (22), Texas and Wisconsin (17),
            Missouri (12), Iowa and Missouri (12), Nebraska (11),
            Colorado (7), and North Dakota (1).

Top out-of-target-market states include Michigan (13), California (12), Florida, Indiana, and Washington (7), and New York and Pennsylvania (6).

2003 year-end statistics include:

54 percent had been to South Dakota before

91 percent said they are planning a trip to South Dakota in the upcoming year

74 percent said answered all of their travel questions

96 percent said they would recommend the site to another traveler

43 percent were referred to by a search engine

61 percent indicated it was their first time visiting

60 percent of the respondents are female; 36 percent are
            male; 4 percent declined to answer

72 percent are married

47 percent have children under 18 living at home

52 percent of the respondents are from the target states
            of Minnesota (346), Wisconsin (251), Illinois (194), Iowa
            (178), Missouri (121), Nebraska (115), Texas (110),
            Colorado (82), and North Dakota (63).

Top out-of-target-market states include California (113), Michigan (98), Ohio (75), Pennsylvania (73), Indiana (69), and Florida (58).

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A Board meeting was conducted on the day prior to the start of the Governor’s Conference on Tourism.  Dave Geisler was reelected president and George Kessler was reelected vice president.  Briefed Board members on their assigned duties for the Tourism Conference.  Board held a joint meeting with the four regional tourism association directors and their top two board officers.  Tourism’s annual report, revenue, and marketing campaigns were reviewed.  Regional representatives discussed the past year’s successes and briefed the group on their FY2004 marketing plans.

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Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant, July 11-13, 18-20, and 25-27, De Smet: Worked on evaluation report.

Great Black Hills Quilt Show and Sale, September 7-10, Hill City: Event is not currently tracked by attendance, but they stated there was record breaking income for downtown store owners and surrounding areas.  Attendees were from Arizona, California, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, New Jersey, Florida, and South Dakota.  Media covering the event included KOTA, KEVN, HGTV, KILI radio, KBHB radio, KAT radio, and the Rapid City Journal.  Of 20 evaluations from businesses, 17 said they experienced an increase in business, with the average at 30 percent.  Business owners said they would like the event to be longer.  Visitors commented most on the quality of the quilts at the show, and they loved the outdoor setting.

Mickelson Trail Trek, September 19-21, Custer: Attendance for the event was 301 riders, 70 more than in 2002.  Attendees were from Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, Wyoming, South Dakota, England, and Scotland.  Media that covered the event included KNBN, KEVN, and Rapid City Journal.  Visitors commented on the beauty of the Black Hills.  Received eight of 54 evaluations that were sent to accommodations providers.  One said they had a 20 percent increase in business and one said they doubled their business.  Received seven of 20 evaluations that were sent to businesses.  One business reported a 10 percent increase.

Corn Palace Polka Festival, September 19-21, Mitchell: Attendance was down by 500, which the organizers attributed to the weather, decreasing population of dancers, and competition with other festivals.  Attendees were from 46 of the 50 states and from several Canadian provinces.  Media that covered the event included KORN and KMIT radio and the Mitchell Daily Republic.  Received two business evaluations, and neither reported an increase in business.

Webster Area Pumpkin Festival, October 10-11, Webster: Organizers said that attendance did not meet their expectations, but weather was a negative factor.  They do not have an official tracking mechanism.  The committee is considering a one-day event for various reasons.  Visitors like the night parade and the variety of activities.  Three businesses were contacted and all were concerned about the lack of local support and how poor weather impacted attendance.

Sacagawea Unity Fest, October 10-11, Mobridge: Organizers reported an increase in attendance from 25 in 2002 to 50 in 2003.  Attendees were from Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Canada.  Media that covered the event include National Native News, Mobridge Tribune, and Selby Record.  Received five of 25 evaluations that were sent to businesses.  They stated that they could not attribute an increase in business to the Unity Fest as there were other events that same weekend.

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Black Hills Horse Expo, March 20-21, Rapid City: Received postcards from printer and mailed 2,780 to horse enthusiasts in Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wyoming.  Sent 500 to local committee for separate mailing.  Designed and sent ad to the Billings Livestock Exchange.  Movie screen slides will be developed in late January/early February.  Continued researching newspapers for ads that will be placed in March.

Frontier Days, August 17-19, White River: Worked on marketing plan.

Lewis and Clark Signature Event, August 20 through October 14: Designed ad for Along the Trail with Lewis and Clark – Travel Planner and Guide.  Placed information on  Worked on marketing plan.

Black Hills Quilt Show and Sale, September 12-15, Hill City: Will stay in contact with organizers for meeting dates.  Worked on drafting marketing plan.

Polka Festival, September 17-19, Mitchell: Will attend planning meeting to discuss marketing options.

Fiddler Jamboree, September 17-19, Yankton: Will attend planning meeting.

Bad River Gathering, September 26, Fort Pierre: Placed event schedule on  Finalized the marketing plan.

Pumpkin Fest, October 8-9, Webster: Continued discussions with organizers regarding length of festival.

Last Chance Bonanza Rodeo, November 4-6, Brookings: Will attend planning meetings to discuss marketing options.

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Deadwood gaming revenue deposited for December 2003 was up 2.5 percent at $137,469, compared to $134,160 for December 2002.  The tourism tax deposited for December 2003 was up 12.5 percent at $231,833, as compared to $206,097 for December 2002.  The deposits in FY04 for gaming and the tourism tax are $4,827,597, as compared to $4,521,349 for FY2003.  This is an overall increase in revenue of 6.8 percent when comparing the same time period in FY2003.

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