The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Governor's Conference on Tourism

I have just returned from the Governor's Conference on Tourism and I'm happy to report that tourism in South Dakota held it's own in terms of gathering money for the state from out-of-state visitors who come here for their vacations.

Most notable is the state's recognition (finally) that at least a few of the people spending money in South Dakota arrive here on two wheels. There is much to be done. While the state's tourism department is doing what it can with the knowledge it has, there is much about the industry they must learn.

I had the opportunity to speak with many Legislators who were there to be seen and even some who were there to learn something about tourism. And, there were those Legislators from out here, who were gladly trying to explain tourism to the flat landers from east of the Missouri.

If we could get the folks in that conference to at least admit that the tourism folks from the Badlands west, might have something to offer the discussion, we would make even greater strides.

There are many things about Mike Rounds' tenure as governor that do not please me. That he has revived a tourism department and has yearly made strides to improve the visitor industry, is not among them.

But there is so much more that needs to be done.

One major improvement: There was a time not too long ago when you could go to the state's tourism website and discover that the biggest thing happening in Sturgis for the year was the threshing bee. That the motorcycle rally now has a section on the site of its own is a huge step forward. Now, if whomever is making decisions about what is in that section would make an effort to figure out what people are coming to see, we could have tremendous results.

All in all, though, I encourage folks to visit the improved

Things there are better than they once were. They're about a 10th of the way to where they need to be.


larry kurtz said...

Gee Mike, are you going to keep lobbing whiffle balls at these jerks?

This is an entrenched GOP kleptocracy content to flaunt its arrogant disregard for environmental degradation in every habitat.

Take metaphorical aim at a Republican AG with one eye closed to GFP and DENR inaction threatening tourism at its very core!

Bob Newland said...

It WOULD be funny to see the "Department of Tourism," which is really the "Department of Reptile Gardens and Wall Drug," become the "Department of Buffalo Chip."

Anonymous said...

This "department" is largely a socialization of costs while the tourist traps privatize profits. We don't see the ag department running ads hawking Morrells, Huron's processed turkeys, SD corn or soybeans. If the tourism industry wants this promotion and marketing then make them pay for all of it.

Michael Sanborn said...


My problem with the Department of Tourism is not that it's the Department of Reptile Gardens and Wall Drug, but rather that it is the Department of the Aberdeen Quilting Bee and Mitchell Corn Palace.

For many years, virtually all of the focus has been East River, with a shot or two of Rushmore and Crazy Horse.

The amount of money invested in a decent campaign has resulted in more money being spent for more days by more people, and the resulting benefit far outreached the cost. Imagine what could happen if they had a more finely tuned campaign targeted to a more precisely defined demographic?

GFP, DENR inaction notwithstanding, my point was that they're headed in the right direction.

I don't have a big truck with GFP, but have had some major issues with DENR.

So, Larry, give us a list of DOCUMENTED bitches you have with GFP and DENR and we'll start a new thread. I won't say your concerns aren't merited. And, I get the connection with both agencies and tourism.

The point of this post was that an investment in promoting the state (and it is a tiny investment when compared to what is invested in other industries) appears to be showing a return.

Michael Sanborn said...


States and other governing bodies "invest" in bringing in business. Tourism, and especially the Rally, has been flying without state help for many years.

My point is that if you're going to invest taxpayer money, invest it fairly and wisely. The Tourism Department is making strides to do their job better.

If you want tourism to be unsubsidized in the state, I can support that, as long as taxpayers don't subsidize ANY other form of private business.