Shoulder tourism season boasts great numbers - KOTA Territory News

Shoulder tourism season boasts great numbers

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This summer proved to be a strong year for South Dakota's tourism industry.

The shoulder season and September numbers added to that success.

But in order for that success to carry over through the next few months, we'll need Mother Nature's help.

For some people, the 'shoulder season' is the perfect time to travel.

"You can enjoy the outdoors and nature more when there are less people," said Laura Morgan, visiting from Missouri.

As September tourism numbers indicate more people share that sentiment.

"The shoulder season traffic has been building year after year which is a great thing to see. We're also seeing the season extend out a little bit longer than it used to in the past," said Mike Gussiaas, Vice President of Marketing with the Black Hills, Badlands and Lakes Association.

Gussiaas says so far this year the two attractions that experienced the most growth are Jewel Cave National Monument and the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site.

"We've had a higher September then we've ever had. We almost had 1,000 visitors more than we've had. And that's a lot for us," said Park Ranger Butch Davis at the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site.

Davis says the tourism numbers show the site is up almost 24 percent over last year when it comes to visitor traffic.

"The growth has just been phenomenal," said Davis.

During the peak months they'll give 20 tours a day, but Davis says this is the time of year the tourism season slows down.

"We slow down considerably, we go down to about 2 tours a day," said Davis.

While the next month or so will be quiet, Gussiaas says if the shoulder season is any indication this year's winter tourism season should get off to a great start.

Pending a little help from Mother Nature of course.

"Hopefully we get sunny weather with good nice snow fall that up in the northern hills with the ski areas and snowmobile trails that they'll start picking up then, into December and for the winter," said Gussiaas.

As tourism numbers for September trickle in they show the state is up almost 7 percent over last year when it comes to visitor traffic.

 

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