Richard Branson pens a letter to South Dakota urging residents to book a Virgin cruise

Virgin Voyages reaches out to South Dakotans to sail

Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady, the new adult-by-design cruise ship setting sail in 2020, has already booked voyages with sailors from all over the United States – except South Dakota – and Sir Richard Branson intends to do something about it.

Turns out that the average full-time employee in South Dakota uses only 26% of their vacation days to travel, and roughly 73% of South Dakotans have leftover days each year, so they’re a tough bunch to get away from the office, apparently.

To rally some South Dakotans to come sail with Virgin Voyages and use those vacation days, the brand has put out a call for sailors encouraging them to book passage, with clever billboards around the state. From Sioux Falls to Rapid City, the red billboards blare pleas like “Sioux…Ya Gonna Book or What?” and “6 Minutes to Book, 0 Reasons Not To, 5 Days at Sea.”

Even Virgin founder Branson is taking notice. He wrote an open letter to South Dakotans, which will run in The New York Times, urging them to book ASAP and come join the Virgin Voyages fun in 2020.

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

To give South Dakotans even more of a nudge, Virgin Voyages is offering the first lucky resident who books a cruise a prize package that includes: $605 in Sailor Loot to use on-board the Scarlet Lady; two first class tickets from the 605 to the 305 (area codes in South Dakota and Miami, respectively); a one-night hotel stay in Miami; and limo transfer to the ship in Miami.

Whether residents of the state will look up from their jobs long enough to notice is another challenge.

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