State officials indicate a strong summer tourism season

Published: May. 3, 2021 at 5:56 PM CDT
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KEYSTONE, S.D. (KOTA) - It’s National Travel and Tourism Week, Governor Kristi Noem along with Secretary of the Department of Tourism James Hagen were at Mount Rushmore discussing the state’s second-largest industry that brings in millions of people.

“12.6 million people spent their vacation in South Dakota last year, that’s how many visitors that we had,” says Noem. “The tourism industry supports almost fifty thousand jobs in the state of South Dakota and the rest of the country, while they were shut down, South Dakota stayed open and we continued to welcome people here to our great state.”

Noem says the state brought in more than $276 million last year in both state and local taxes because of tourism.

And for the 2021 season, the department of tourism has created a three-phase marketing plan to bring more people in even those who are not ready to travel yet.

“Our message to them is when the time is right for you and you feel comfortable in traveling again, great places are awaiting,” says Hagen. “For that segment of the American population that is ready to travel, they’re planning and starting to book, we’re telling them to come and visit and go great places. We have a third segment, they’re already coming, and so our message to them is great faces great places.”

Hagan says during the past thirty days, the department’s website traffic is up 174% and inquiries like vacation guide requests and newsletter sign-ups are up 203% percent.

“All indications are it’s going to be a very strong summer season, we’re hearing that from partners across the board. Whether you own a campground, a bed and breakfast, hotel reservations, it really doesn’t matter. we’re hearing from a number of tourism industry partners who are booked already solid through the fall,” says Hagen.

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