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Tourism Officials Expect Good Summer Season

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) – About 110,300 South Dakotans are expected to travel over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, a slight decline from last year.

AAA says that mirrors an expected drop nationally. Officials point to high gas prices as the main reason. AAA South Dakota spokeswoman Marilyn Buskohl says the gas prices are cutting into people’s budgets.

State tourism officials still expect a good summer season. Tourism Department spokeswoman Wanda Goodman says there is strong demand for vacation guides and e-newsletters from a digital marketing campaign, and traffic on department-run websites also has been strong.

The Tourism Department also has launched an eight-state tour of Mount Rushmore mascots. The tour of the mascots dressed up as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln is aimed at drawing people to the state.

Meanwhile, Governor Dennis Daugaard is encouraging motorists to be cautious as they travel South Dakota highways over Memorial Day weekend.

Daugaard says the Memorial Day weekend is traditionally the start of the summer travel season in South Dakota, and traffic is likely to be heavier than usual.

One person died and 42 others were injured in 137 highway crashes during the Memorial Day weekend last year. Statistics from the State Office of Accident Records show that 10 percent of the crashes were alcohol-related.

Daugaard is asking motorists to follow speed limits, avoid distractions, make sure everyone in the vehicle is wearing a seatbelt and have a sober driver at the wheel.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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