Governor Dennis Daugaard released the tourism numbers from 2012 Thursday, giving people in the South Dakota tourism industry a reason to smile.
The economic impact from tourism increased by more than 5% in 2012 which benefits the state in so many ways.
It's not the five cent cup of coffee at Wall Drug that brought Kim Ranger to South Dakota, it's the state's history. "I teach history so a lot of our history is about the Native Americans, so I just thought it was a fantastic opportunity to see the places that I'm actually teaching about," said Ranger.
And her tour guide Richard Watkins is showing her the ropes/ "Today we're on our way through Wall Drug on our way into Pine Ridge Indian Reservation," said Watkins.
Tourism is the heart of Watkins business. "Business has been very good and I anticipate it to keep growing," said Watkins.
Just because right now in January this tourist town looks more like a one horse town, doesn't mean the rest of the year was this slow.
"The good news is in 2012 the total economic impact of South Dakota visitor industry was $1.95 billion," said South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard.
And that revenue gives each South Dakota household more than an $800 dollar tax break. "These visitors who are coming to our state and creating these tax dollars and buying services from these businesses are employing South Dakotans, its economic development," said South Dakota Department of Tourism Secretary Jim Hegan.
In fact one in every eleven South Dakota jobs depends on tourism, just like Open Top Tours. "Not only is it good for my company, it's good for all the other companies and businesses; hotels, restaurants, and everyone else," said Watkins.
"We're excited; we think 2013 is going to be an even better year for us," said Hegan.
In 2012 more than 27,000 jobs in South Dakota were generated by the tourism industry.