Recent Press Releases

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune today joined a bipartisan coalition of Senators in supporting the Travel Promotion Act of 2007, legislation that would boost the number of international visitors to South Dakota and other favorite tourist destinations in the United States. The bill passed today out of the Senate Commerce Committee, on which Senator Thune serves.

International visitors to the United States are an important part of the tourism industry but in recent years there has been a decline in travel to the United States from other countries. The economic costs of this decline have been seen in declining employment rates and revenues in the travel industry.

The Travel Promotion Act of 2007 would create the Corporation for Travel Promotion, to be funded by revenues collected from international tourists as well as by private support from the tourism industry. American taxpayer dollars will not be used to fund the Corporation. The Corporation would seek to promote America's tourist destinations abroad and clarify common misconceptions about U.S. policy governing international tourists. The Corporation would put the U.S. on par with other nations' efforts in competing for international tourism dollars.

"Tourism is a vital part of our state's economy. Total visitor spending for the state of South Dakota totaled $864 million in 2006. Despite the industry's huge impact in total, many of the tourist attractions in South Dakota cannot afford to advertise overseas on their own, therefore I am supporting this public-private partnership to promote the United States as a travel destination. Mount Rushmore, the Black Hills, the Corn Palace and our entire tourism sector will hopefully see a return on this investment to spur international tourism.

"Additionally, the good will that comes from experiencing foreign travel may help boost the image of Americans around the world. I am pleased to join my colleagues in opening the door to visitors who want to enjoy all of the wonder that our nation has to offer."

Statistics from the South Dakota Department of Tourism and State Development 2006 Annual Report:
Total visitor spending: $864,855,345
Impact on state's economy: $2.16 Billion
State sales tax from visitor spending: $22,722,400
State gasoline tax from visitor spending: $23,096,000
Employment traceable to visitor industry: 33,908