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Mitchell Chamber of Commerce embracing National Tourism and Travel Week

Tourists who trek to Mitchell this week will have an opportunity to take in the city of Mitchell’s top five tourist attractions and get a chance to win a prize by taking a selfie at one of the locations.

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Visitors hang out down North Main Street during the Palace City Pre-Sturgis Party on August 6, 2020. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Matt Gade

With National Travel and Tourism Week in full swing, the Mitchell Area Chamber of Commerce found a creative way to take part in celebrating it at some of Mitchell’s biggest tourist attractions.

Tourists who trek to Mitchell this week will have an opportunity to take in the city of Mitchell’s top five tourist attractions, and get a chance to win a prize by taking a selfie at one of the locations. Of course, Mitchell’s biggest tourist attraction, the Corn Palace is one tourist spot for the selfie photo, followed by the Prehistoric Indian Village, Carnegie Resource Center, the West End boat ramp along Lake Mitchell and the Outdoor Aquatic Center.

“We’re giving away $250 in Mitchell money to one of those who takes a picture at one of the five tourist selfie spots and submits them to us,” said Jen Johnston, Director of Tourism and Marketing with the Mitchell Area Chamber of Commerce.

Considering the economic impact travel and tourism has on the Mitchell area, Johnston said taking part in this year’s 38th National Travel and Tourism Week is one way to embrace the industry that’s a vital source of revenue for the city and surrounding area.

To celebrate the travel and tourism week, the Corn Palace will be speckled in bright red lighting all week, as it’s the designated color for the national event. In addition, the opening night of First Fridays on Main in downtown Mitchell will have several activities themed around the travel and tourism week.

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While travel and tourism suffered a major hit from the pandemic last year, Johnston and city officials are optimistic about this summer’s visitor numbers. Like many tourist attractions in the country, the Corn Palace experienced a big drop in visitors in 2020 during the peak of COVID-19. The Corn Palace saw a 27% decrease in visitors in 2020 compared to 2019. In total, there were roughly 272,000 visitors in 2020, which is about 100,000 fewer visitors than the 371,000 in 2019.

“Despite the hardships of the last year, Mitchell is ready and eager to welcome back visitors and help drive our community’s recovery efforts. National Travel and Tourism Week is an opportunity to remind visitors and residents of the incredible contributions of the travel industry not just to our local economy and workforce, but to our community’s identity and culture,” Johnston said.

On average, Mitchell’s biggest tourist attraction draws around 400,000 visitors each year. With a full slate of events and concerts on deck for the summer, Corn Palace Director Doug Greenway said he’s hoping to see a big rebound in visitor numbers.

“With the festival, Pre-Sturgis bike party and several big concerts, we have high hopes for a great tourism season this summer at the Corn Palace,” Greenway said during a recent Corn Palace Board meeting. “We are optimistic about the tourism season.”

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Visitors stop by the Corn Palace in Mitchell on Thursday morning. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Related Topics: TOURISMCORN PALACE
Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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