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U.K. travel professionals visit Badlands' Cedar Pass Lodge

INTERIOR — More than a dozen travel professionals from the United Kingdom visited the Badlands in May as part of a program to increase international tourism to the region.

The Brits on May 19 stayed at the Cedar Pass Lodge in the Badlands, the only lodging facility inside Badlands National Park. They were hosted by Brand USA, a public-private organization that promotes international visitation to the United States. They were joined by the South Dakota Department of Tourism and park concessioner Forever Resorts.

The visit was part of Brand USA's "Meet the Mountains" familiarization tour focusing on the U.S. states of Colorado, Nebraska and South Dakota.

Brand USA said travel from emerging markets such as China, Brazil is growing, but the United Kingdom remains the United States' No. 1 overseas travel market.

Attendees sampled regional specialties such as buffalo burgers, Sioux Indian fry bread and South Dakota-made ice cream and stayed in pinewood-themed rooms.

Cedar Pass Lodge predates the establishment of Badlands National Monument by 11 years. The property, founded by local businessman Ben Millard, began as a dance hall that brought in Lawrence Welk and similar acts.