Black Hills tourism numbers on the rise - KOTA Territory News

Black Hills tourism numbers on the rise

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There's a lot of things to consider when planning a vacation...and this year affordability was high on the list for the Corey family.

"It was drivable, and its convenient, we can stay at camp sites, economical hotels," said Kelly Corey of Idaho.

And while wildfires, rising airfares and record breaking heat are enough to keep most locals indoors, they aren't keeping visitors out of the Black Hills.

"Numbers up in April, in May, in June and we had a very good 4th of July weekend," said John Brockelsby, public relations manager with Reptile Gardens.

"The early good start we had with the weather patterns is really making a difference," said Nort Johnson with the Black Hills, Badlands and Lakes association.

Many state parks and area attractions are already reporting double digit increases in traffic.

"Wind and Jewel cave are both seeing significant increases. Devils tower is up 12%, as is Mount Rushmore," said Johnson.

A surge in industry in neighboring states has also noticeably increase visitor traffic.

"We have seen an increase in North Dakota and Wyoming traffic and I think that's because of the energy boom," said Brockelsby.

"Early indications for rally travel is that it will be up. There are great offerings in the rally that will keep people around longer," said Johnson.

And the longer they're here, tourism leaders hope, the more they'll want to come back.

"It's one of those places you have on your bucket list, you just gotta see it," said Corey.

A newly launched tourism app created by the Black Hills, Badlands and Lakes association has already been downloaded and utilized by at least 47,000 people outside of the Black Hills.

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