Nine straight years of growth is a pretty significant achievement. South Dakota’s tourism industry can make that claim as the state raises its profile as a desirable destination.

As the South Dakota Tourism Conference winds down, some eye-popping numbers were revealed on tourism’s impact on the state’s economy. In a press release from the South Dakota Department of Tourism, two studies by separate organizations compiled the 2018 figures that underscore the industry’s relevance.

Tourism Economics found that $3.98 billion was spent by visitors in South Dakota which is up 2.5 percent over 2017. That money came from 14.1 million people who vacationed in the Mount Rushmore state which helped amass $2.66 billion in Gross Domestic Product. All three of those figures are record amounts for South Dakota.

Department of Tourism Secretary Jim Hagen credits many factors for the continued growth.

“Our targeted marketing, extensive media coverage, public relations outreach and the hard work of our industry members contributed to this success. Tourism is an economic engine for the state, employing nearly 55,000 South Dakotans.”

To further quantify the marketing aspect, information provided by tourism research company Longwoods International revealed that South Dakota uses its resources well. During 2018, every dollar the Department spent on marketing generated $3 in tax revenue for the state.


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