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Tourism Industry Remains Strong throughout Shoulder Season


PIERRE, S.D. – Recently compiled statistics show that the South Dakota visitor industry is continuing its positive momentum from the successful peak season through the fall months.

“All of our indicators are showing strong growth through September,” said Jim Hagen, Secretary of the Department of Tourism. “We couldn’t be happier with how things are looking, and we’re proud of our industry and all of the hard work they put in to attract and welcome visitors.”

2016 Calendar Year-to-Date Statistics*:

  • Inquiries – 6.8 percent increase
  • BBB Taxable Sales – 8.8 percent increase
  • Tourism Taxable Sales – 16.3 percent increase
  • Lodging Taxable Sales – 10.7 percent increase
  • Promotion Tax Revenue – 23.1 percent increase
  • Gaming Revenue – 0.6 percent increase

Despite strong results, the Department of Tourism remains aware of the need for innovative thinking.

“Our competitors are always innovating, always growing their budgets, always trying new things,” continued Hagen. “The competition is no longer just our neighboring states; it is truly the world. As such, we can’t rest on our laurels.”

The Department’s shoulder season marketing plans include both tried-and-true methods for reaching potential visitors as well as some new elements that are reaching new people in new places.

For example, the Department partnered with the Pedal-Powered Talk Show out of Portland, Ore., to test some research that was showing a rise in inquiries from the Pacific Northwest. This partnership will showcase South Dakota to the area in six online television episodes beginning Nov. 12.

Additionally, the Department is putting a focus on national parks this fall by placing ads in National Parks Magazine, National Geographic Traveler, South Dakota Magazine and Nature Conservancy Magazine. This comes in advance of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service and the 75th anniversary of the completion of Mount Rushmore National Memorial in 2016.

The Department will also have a presence in the 127th Rose Parade® in January 2016. The theme of the parade, “Find Your Adventure,” grew out of a partnership between the Pasadena Tournament of Roses® and the U.S. National Park Service and will help shine a light on the centennial celebration of our country’s national park system.

The South Dakota Department of Tourism is comprised of Tourism and the South Dakota Arts Council. The Department is led by Secretary Jim Hagen.


*These statistics reflect Jan.-Sept., 2015 over Jan.-Sept. 2014.


Wanda Goodman
South Dakota Department of Tourism
Phone: 605-773-3301