Visit Rapid City expects positive 2023 after encouraging tourism numbers

It isn't just the businesses involved in tourism that benefit from thousands of visitor dollars.
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 6:22 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - More than 14 million people visited attractions all over South Dakota last year, pumping more than $7 billion into the state economy.

It’s certainly been a bounce back for businesses in South Dakota, after the COVID-19 pandemic.

So says Brook Kaufman, president of Visit Rapid City, who said that these numbers will prove to be great news for Rapid City’s economy.

“We’re predicting occupancy will be very steady, the average rate on hotel rooms will be up a little bit,” Kaufman said. “So, I think we’re going to see some marginal growth in 2023, we’re not predicting an outlier year like 2021, but I do think we’re going to see a robust visitor economy again.”

Kaufman and other Visit Rapid City employees spent this past week at South Dakota’s Tourism Conference in Pierre.

The organization was awarded for their efforts in promoting tourism.

Among others awards for Visit Rapid City, former president Julie Schmitz Jensen, who passed away late last year, was posthumously awarded the Ben Black Elk Award.

Kaufman says Jensen’s legacy is continuing to be practiced as the community makes strides in tourism.

“[She] just really had an impact on the industry. We’re celebrating her legacy and all of the things we get to do because she did so well.”

The Shady Rest Motel in Custer also received honors. They were awarded the George S. Mickelson award for going beyond customers’ expectations.

Ann Thompson with Affordable Adventures Tours in Rapid City also received the Ruth Ziolkowski award for outstanding hospitality & customer service.