2011 was a wet summer. It brought floods and torrential rains and left many KOTA Territory tourist businesses hurting.
So, naturally the following year, last summer, with better weather and a more stable economy, numbers were up.
Now this year, 2013, tourism numbers are up substantially yet again. Giving business owners have high hopes for this year's summer tourism season.
"The phones have been ringing all morning. I don't know whether a switch has been turned on but for the last couple of days it's really picked up," says Ed miller. Who owns and runs Rush-no-more Resort and Campground in Sturgis.
He also says his reservations for this summer are up substantially compared to last year, "I'd say we're up a good 15%."
And he's not alone, down at the Hill City Mount Rushmore KOA, one of the regions largest resorts, the trend is the same.
"Reservations for camping we're up 17.6% and lodging we're up 11.6%," says Gwyn Wathen, a Director for the Palmer Gulch Resort at the Hill City Mount Rushmore KOA.
Now the question is "why?"
"I don't know whether it's because the economy is better, or whether people are tired of it being bad and just said, well we're going to take a vacation anyways," says Miller.
"I think everyone is getting back on track into taking their vacations instead of waiting to see what fuel prices are or the economy," says Wathen.
And the resorts won't be the only ones cashing in.
"We've always tracked it to where if we're up, our local restaurants are up, local attractions are up, so hopefully they'll see an increase," says Wathen.
A welcome increase, Rick and Linda Pini who own Linda's deli in Hill City, are hoping for.
"Last year we couldn't even keep up with our food orders, we see a lot of tourists, we're hoping for a good year, and we have high hopes," says Pini.
And more reservations are being made by the minute.
"I'm down to one RV site left for the rally. Cabins have been sold out since January.... Word seems to have gotten out about the Black Hills," says Miller.
"Everything right now is tracking really well compared to last year," says Wathen.