South Dakota tourism numbers up

Published: Jan. 18, 2018 at 3:09 PM CST
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The South Dakota tourism industry has once again posted an increase in visitation, visitor spending, and overall impact on the state’s economy in 2017. This marks eight straight years of economic growth.

According to a new study by Tourism Economics, visitor spending reached $3.9 billion in 2017, an increase of 1.2 percent from 2016. This contributed $2.6 billion in GDP to South Dakota’s economy, up 3.2 percent from 2016. These dollars flow through the South Dakota economy, supporting more than 53,900 jobs and generating more than $290 million in state and local tax revenue. Visitation to South Dakota remained steady at 13.9 million visitors, an increase of 0.1 percent from the previous year.

“The tourism industry continues to be an incredibly important and vital part of the South Dakota economy,” said James Hagen, Secretary of the Department of Tourism. “Along with other industries, the tourism industry felt the indirect effects of a struggling agriculture economy across the Midwest and the decreased discretionary income of households in the region. But despite that, as it always does, this industry demonstrated great perseverance and we couldn’t be happier about our growth in 2017. Our targeted marketing efforts and continued media coverage, combined with the marketing work of our partners across the state, paid off for the entire industry.”

The tourism industry faced the challenge of topping numbers after two consecutive years of major anniversaries in the state that drew large numbers of visitors. 2015 marked the 75th anniversary of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and the 50th anniversary of the Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup. 2016 was the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service and the 75th anniversary of the completion of Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

“We knew sustaining growth following two years of major anniversaries wasn’t going to be easy,” said Hagen. “It’s extremely rewarding to see that our marketing tactics paid off and that South Dakota continues to be a major lure for visitors from across the world.”

2017 economic impact stats (percentages show increases from 2016)*:

-- 13.9 million – number of visitors that came to South Dakota, an increase of 0.1 percent

-- $3.88 billion – amount of visitor spending, an increase of 1.2 percent

-- $2.6 billion – amount of GDP contributed to the state’s economy, an increase of 3.2 percent

-- $291 million – state and local tax dollars generated by travel and tourism activity, an increase of $12 million

-- $871 – the amount of tax dollars each South Dakota household saves because of the tourism industry

-- 53,894 – number of jobs sustained by the tourism industry, an increase of 1.2 percent

Additional 2017 travel indicators:

-- 60 percent – average hotel occupancy for the year

-- 5.1 million – number of visitors to South Dakota’s national parks

-- 57,000 - additional visitors to South Dakota’s state parks in 2016, which brought in $700,000 in additional revenue

-- $63.7 million – amount of advertising value earned through domestic and international public relations efforts in calendar year 2017, an increase of $37 million over 2016

-- 5.6 billion – number of impressions earned through domestic and international public relations efforts in calendar year 2017

To view the full Tourism Economics report, check out the visit South Dakota


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