SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A longtime tradition in the world of travel has returned with the start of May.

National Travel & Tourism Week got its start in 1983 to highlight the economic power of travel.

“All the folks who travel, all the folks who provide services for those who are traveling, and people who just want to celebrate getting out and about and enjoying the world,” Experience Sioux Falls Executive Director Teri Schmidt said.

Experience Sioux Falls Executive Director Teri Schmidt says tourism plays a vital role in the success of communities across KELOLAND.

“It’s the second most impactful industry in the state of South Dakota, so when you think about the number of jobs that are created across our state, you think about the amount of tax revenue that’s generated, and did you know that if we didn’t have travel and tourism every person in South Dakota would be paying another $980 in taxes,” Schmidt said.

“Hotels to attractions to shopping, restaurants, everyone. When any visitor comes to town they’re going to hit up all these things so it really has a trickle-down effect,” Communications Manager Matt Barthel said.

Visitors spent a record $4.4-billion in South Dakota last year, but Matt Barthel says travel is more than dollars and cents.

“Taking time off really does rejuvenate yourself and makes you more motivated to go back to work and accomplish things in your professional and personal lives,” Barthel said.

Another part of Travel & Tourism Week is the Sioux Falls Familiarization Tour Contest.

“We are encouraging those frontline workers to get out there and experience different attractions,” Barthel said.

“Those people who are at the desk when you check in or when you’re at a store and checking out, we want all those people to know what Sioux Falls has to offer, so we want to familiarize our community with everything there is to offer so that we can all be better hosts and better cross-sell to keep people here longer,” Schmidt said.

National Travel & Tourism Week runs May 1-7.

About 15 Sioux Falls businesses are part of this year’s FAM Tour Contest, which runs through the end of June.

May 1 – June 30
Sioux Falls “FAM” Tour Contest
Various Attractions – Free
Each year Experience Sioux Falls hosts a city “Familiarization (FAM) Tour” for all frontline employees showing all there is to see and do in Sioux Falls so that they can pass on that knowledge to visitors. The goal: to get visitors to stay longer in Sioux Falls! The more frontline employees know, the more fun reasons visitors will learn and stay here longer.
Every year Sioux Falls is adding NEW and UNIQUE experiences that are waiting to be explored. The FAM Tour Contest will encourage frontline workers to visit each participating attraction to explore and learn more so they can better promote the many things to do in our city.
This year’s FAM Tour Contest will have three tiers of fun prizes and one grand prize that will be given to the frontline worker who visits the most participating attractions.