PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — State tourism officials have a new pitch for potential visitors in 2015: make South Dakota your "Great Place."
Gov. Dennis Daugaard unveiled the new "My Great Place" marketing campaign, a riff on the state's "Great Faces. Great Places" slogan, Thursday night at a state tourism convention. Gone is "Your American Journey," a catchphrase that debuted in 2012 and that Daugaard said helped draw visitors from around the world.
Tourism brought in $2 billion to South Dakota's economy in 2014, the governor said, making it a pillar industry. The economic impact of tourism increased by an estimated 2.6 percent in 2014, according to a new outside report to the state. Daugaard said it has grown for nearly a decade.
"This industry is vital to our state and our economy," Daugaard said, adding: "2015 is our opportunity to showcase South Dakota like never before."
Roughly one in 11 South Dakota jobs depend on travel and tourism spending, and related activity generated $300 million in state and local taxes in 2014.
State tourism officials expect 2015 to be a big year for travel in South Dakota, with two key anniversaries: the 75th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and the 50th Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup.
High estimates for the August motorcycle rally alone could exceed the population of South Dakota, ranging from 750,000 to 1 million people. That's a dramatic jump from an estimated 442,000 attendees for the 2014 event.
The new advertising campaign is aimed at authenticity, Secretary of Tourism Jim Hagen said. Television advertisements draw on locations from the Mitchell Corn Palace in the eastern part of the state to the Crazy Horse Memorial in the west to emphasize the variety of what makes the state "My Great Place" for individual travelers.
"'My Great Place' is both a physical location and a state of mind," Daugaard said. "It's personal and different for every traveler who comes here."
Some of the markets the state's advertising effort is targeting in 2015 are: Minneapolis; Denver; Milwaukee; and Omaha, Nebraska.