State leaders prepare for summer tourism season

RAPID CITY, S.D. — After a rough start, state leaders are shifting gears to get more people in the region to visit South Dakota this summer tourism season.

Governor Kristi Noem says tourism revenue is down 70-percent for the state compared to this time last year.

South Dakota Secretary of Tourism Jim Hagen’s department is shifting its focus more to travelers within the region to encourage those road trippers to consider stopping in the Mount Rushmore state.

“The traveling trend this year is looking to be more along the lines of road trips,” says Hagen. “Our message to them is; that we’re ready for you, we’re going to be safe for you when it’s right for you to travel. Great places are waiting for you when the time is right for you.”

Visit Rapid City says its also noticed a drop in tourism revenue, down about 50-percent from a year ago.

President and CEO Julie Jensen says the Rapid City tourism market is ready to welcome the drive by visitors.

“I think our industry is on board with the CDC requirements and suggestions, there’s cleaning like we’ve never seen before,” says Jensen. “There is distancing at restaurants.”

Jensen says she’s also optimistic about the fall season, and she hopes by then it becomes more comfortable to attract people to many of the events, such as the Black Hills Pow-Wow.

Categories: Coronavirus, Local News, South Dakota News