The logo of the Forever 605 program, which encourages South Dakotans and visitors to explore the state respectfully. (Courtesy of Travel South Dakota)

State seeks pledges to explore South Dakota respectfully

BY: - August 2, 2023

Modern information sharing means there are almost no undiscovered places anymore, and that’s led to some negative effects that state tourism officials are trying to counteract. Travel South Dakota, an arm of the state Department of Tourism, is launching a campaign encouraging visitors and South Dakotans to pledge that they’ll travel respectfully. The campaign, which […]

Dancers fill a powwow space. (South Dakota Department of Tourism)

Native-led tourism alliance launches ‘economic catalyst’ tours on reservations

BY: - June 20, 2023

South Dakota has fed off the state’s connection to Native American history and heritage for decades, helping to propel the state’s tourism industry to a reported $7.6 billion economic impact in 2022. The tourism crown jewel of South Dakota, the Black Hills, is a sacred place for the tribes that make up the Great Sioux […]

H2-B worker Francisco (whose last name has been withheld by request) and Janet Boyer pull a couple of tap beers at Mt. Rushmore Brewing Company ahead of the tourist season in Custer. (Paul Horsted/for South Dakota Searchlight)

Volatile, costly international visa program strains SD’s tourism industry

BY: - June 8, 2023

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first of two stories examining the challenges some South Dakota businesses face as they attempt to hire international workers. The second story examines challenges in the agricultural industry. — Janet Boyer estimates she spent over $40,000 arranging housing for international workers and transporting them to the Black Hills before she […]

Gov. Kristi Noem speaks at Reptile Gardens near Rapid City on May 10, 2023. (Seth Tupper/South Dakota Searchlight)

New state grant program aims to lure last-minute summer tourists

BY: - May 10, 2023

RAPID CITY — Gov. Kristi Noem announced the creation of a $200,000 grant program for tourism businesses Wednesday at Reptile Gardens in the Black Hills. Noem cited industry data indicating 91% of this summer’s travelers already have their trips planned. She wants the grant money to help South Dakota businesses target the remaining 9% of […]

Some of the TikTok accounts that appear to be affiliated with state entities in South Dakota. (TikTok screenshots)

Noem’s TikTok ban kills tourism account, leaves other state entities mulling options

BY: and - November 29, 2022

The South Dakota Department of Tourism deleted its TikTok account Tuesday, abandoning the 61,200 followers and 1.7 million likes the state agency cultivated on the popular social media app. And South Dakota State University is meeting with its general counsel on how to handle its 9,000-follower TikTok account — all after Gov. Kristi Noem banned […]