PIERRE, S.D. – Department of Tourism Secretary Jim Hagen will lead South Dakota’s visitor industry in a travel rally on Tuesday, May 8, at the World’s Only Corn Palace in Mitchell, and again on Wednesday, May 9, at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City, as part of the 29th annual National Travel and Tourism Week. Employees representing major sectors of the visitor industry will participate in these Travel Rally Days in a show of support for the jobs and economic impact created by visitors to South Dakota.
More than 75 cities, nationwide, are expected to hold rallies to champion travel as a jobs-creator and revenue-generator. Many events will be staged under the “Vote Travel” theme as part of the U.S. Travel Association’s year-long campaign to raise awareness of the impact of the travel and tourism industry on our economy.
“Travel and tourism supports 14 million jobs across the nation, including nearly 30,000 right here in South Dakota,” said Jim Hagen, Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Tourism. “We are rallying to celebrate the benefits of travel in our communities and our state, and we’re letting our elected officials and local citizens know that a vote for travel is a vote for South Dakota.”
Travel and tourism is a $1.8 billion industry for South Dakota and generates $271 million in state and local tax revenue. Travel is a broad and diverse industry, employing a vast workforce from airline and hotel employees to restaurant, attraction and retail workers. Travel and tourism further supports employees in other industry sectors, such as construction, manufacturing and finance.
“Travel is a force that can drive our nation’s economic recovery. It is one of the healthiest sectors of our economy in terms of job-creation, employing one out of every nine Americans,” said Roger Dow, President and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, the umbrella organization representing the U.S. travel industry.
South Dakota’s participation in the U.S. Travel Association’s Travel Rally Day will take place immediately following the visitor industry’s annual literature swaps. The rally on Tuesday, May 8, will be at 12:00 p.m. at the Mitchell Corn Palace. The rally on Wednesday, May 9, will be at 1:00 p.m. at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. Members of the media are encouraged to attend.
The South Dakota Department of Tourism is comprised of Tourism, the South Dakota Arts Council, and the South Dakota State Historical Society. The Department is led by Secretary James D. Hagen.