SD capitalizing on rising tourism from new market segments

Monday, July 02, 2018

PIERRE, S.D.—South Dakota tourism grew for the eighth straight year in 2017, although expansion was hindered somewhat by a lagging farm economy.

"We're a rural state, and we depend a lot on our drive market," said Kirk Hulstein, industry outreach and development director for the South Dakota Department of Tourism. "We definitely did feel the impact of the ag economy," he said.

The picture drawn from the department's recently published 2017 annual report is broadly positive. Visitation increased 0.1 percent from a year earlier. Visitor spending reached $3.88 billion, a 1.2 percent increase over 2016. And travel generated upward of $291 million in state and local taxes, a $12 million increase from 2016.

Without the tax revenue from tourism, Hulstein said, the average South Dakota household would pay an additional $871 to maintain current state and local spending.

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