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Tourism Impact and Return on Investment Strong in 2012


PIERRE, S.D. – The total economic impact of South Dakota’s visitor industry increased last year by 5 percent* from 2011, translating to an overall economic impact of nearly $2 billion.

The 2012 figures are from a new report by IHS Global Insight. In addition, an inaugural study of return-on-investment conducted by Longwoods International shows that, for every dollar spent on marketing by the state Department of Tourism, South Dakota receives $5 in tax revenues.

“In 2012, our vibrant visitor sector once again proved that it is a job-creating, revenue-generating industry,” Gov. Dennis Daugaard said. “Tourism produced $291 million in state and local tax revenues last year and eased the tax burden on South Dakotans to the tune of $878 per household.”

2012 South Dakota Tourism by the Numbers:

  • 5.04 percent – The increase in the economic impact of tourism on South Dakota’s economy last year.
  • $1.95 billion – Tourism’s direct impact on South Dakota’s economy in 2012.
  • 1:5 – The ratio between dollars spent on tourism marketing and tax revenue received. For every dollar Tourism spends marketing the state as a vacation destination, South Dakota receives $5 in tax revenue.
  • 19 percent – The amount of state and local tax revenue generated by tourism-related activity in 2012. This totaled $291 million.
  • 27,731 – The number of jobs directly generated by the tourism industry in 2012. That’s 1-out-of-11 South Dakota jobs that depend on travel and tourism.
  • $878 – The amount of additional taxes each household in the state would pay if South Dakota’s tourism industry did not exist.
  • 8.3 percent - Percentage of visitor spending that came from international visitors.

“The visitor industry and the Department of Tourism work hard to share the South Dakota story with millions of potential visitors each year,” said Jim Hagen, Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Tourism. “It’s very fulfilling to see that hard work result in positive growth.”

The South Dakota Department of Tourism is comprised of Tourism, the South Dakota Arts Council, and the South Dakota State Historical Society. The Department is led by Secretary James D. Hagen.


*This includes actual numbers from January-October 2012 and forecasted numbers for November and December 2012.