Virgin Voyages’ Richard Branson pleads with South Dakotans who aren’t booking

MIAMI — South Dakota, you really need to step up your game.

The Midwestern state is being called out by Virgin Voyages for being the only state in the U.S. to have yet to book voyages on the Scarlet Lady, due to set sail in 2020.

According to the cruise line, it has already received bookings from all across the country – except South Dakota. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise considering the average full-time employee in the state uses a national low of 4.3 vacation days to travel, and that about 73% of South Dakotans have leftover vacation days each year.

Well, as you can imagine, this doesn’t exactly sit right with Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson. He has penned an open letter to South Dakotans, which ran in The New York Times on May 30, urging them to book and join in on the fun.

“South Dakota, for a state with a place called Rapid City, you’re really taking your time,” he wrote.

Branson also made sure to thank the other 49 states that have booked to get onboard its ships, which he said are “designed to make sailing a well-being inspired, adult-by-design, never been done before holiday at sea.”

As part of his appeal to South Dakotans, Branson also approved several billboards to pop up around the state that encourages travellers to book. Now, locals are reminded daily on their commute to work that “You’re not booking fast enough” and that it takes just “6 minutes to book”.

And if that weren’t enough to get them to click ‘book’, the company has also launched an exclusive contest just for South Dakotans that includes US$605 in Sailor Loot to use onboard the Scarlet Lady, two first class tickets to Miami, one-night hotel accommodations in Miami, as well as a limo transfer to the ship.

Way to play hard to get, South Dakota! Now let’s see if you take the bait.