The South Dakota Department of Transportation presented five awards at the 2013 Governor's Conference on Tourism Thursday evening; including the Ben Black Elk Award.
This year's winner is Executive Director of the Rapid City Convention and Visitors Bureau Michelle Lintz. The Ben Black Elk Award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the visitor's industry in South Dakota. Lintz has been in the tourism industry for 26 years.
"Michelle is committed to leading the industry and is always embracing new ideas to promote her city to visitors," said Governor Dennis Daugaard.
The A.H Pankow Award honoring a media outlet or an individual media member for unparalleled coverage and promotions of the industry is senior Department of tourism photographer Chad Coppess.
The George S. Mickelson Great Service Awards were awarded to the South Dakota State Parks and Holiday Inn city Centre in Sioux Falls.
A new award, the Excellence in Tourism Innovation Award, was given to the Rapid City Convention and Visitor Bureau for the Rushmore Mascots marketing efforts. This award recognizes an industry member for thinking creatively when it comes to promoting their business, organization, or destination.