Midwestern tourism professionals try to attract international tourists

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SPEARFISH, S.D. (KEVN) - Travel planners from around the world are coming together in Spearfish to learn why the Midwest is an ideal place for tourists.

While Tuesday may have been typical chamber of commerce spring weather, the business of tourism was still going strong in the Black Hills.

Nonstop business chatter filled the Holiday Inn Spearfish Convention Center for the 25th Annual International Roundup.

Midwestern professionals from hotels, restaurants, and attractions pitched to representatives from twelve countries on why tourists should visit their states, including South Dakota.

Cole Irwin, global travel trade director, South Dakota Department of Tourism, says, "International tourism is very important. Obviously domestic tourism is really important in South Dakota, too, but we always want to expand further. We want to share South Dakota with the world. We have great things here to show, national parks, national beauty, the great lifestyle we live here, and the people of South Dakota."

The South Dakota Department of Tourism says meetings like this help generate more than $22 million of future travel to the state.

However, a French representative says snow is a major factor in when their tourists visit America.

Emmanuelle Blondin, France representative, Rocky Mountain International, says, "Winter time, it's not usually the time of the year that we choose when we come here for vacation. Most popular months are June, July, and August and early September. We prefer to travel during this time frame."

When the weather is nice, Blondin says there's many things that attract the French.

"We have been lured by Western movies and literature and so this region is very appealing for the French. The cowboy culture, the Native American as well, wide open spaces, ranches. So when we come here, we want to experience the whole thing," she says.