Black Hills tourism reaches nine straight years of growth

RAPID CITY S.D. – Black Hills tourism continues to set records.

2018 marked the ninth consecutive year for growth. Visitor spending totaled just shy of $4 billion. That’s up 2.5 percent 2017.

The CEO at Visit Rapid City, Dan Senftner, said the Black Hills are becoming more popular because of it’s affordability and improved accessibility.

“You can go to Mount Rushmore, you can go to Crazy Horse, let’s move into Wyoming, you can go to Devil’s Tower,” Senftner said. “You can do all this stuff in the better part of a few days if you want to because you’re not fighting the traffic.”

Last year, visitor dollars contributed almost $300 million in state and local tax revue. Without that money, residents would have to pay over $800 on average more in taxes.

The gateway to the Black Hills is growing as well. Rapid City Regional Airport saw just over 625,000 people come through its gates in 2018. That’s a 5 percent increase over 2017. And with the addition of non-stop flights to the New York Area and Charlotte, North Carolina, the airport continues to grow and bring visitors.

“We’ve been able to add some flights here and as a result I think we’re starting to see the end result, that’s gone into trying to get people moving in and out of the Black Hills,” said Patrick Dame, the executive director of Rapid City Regional Airport.

Now into 2019, experts have their eyes to keeping Rapid City and the hills cheap and family-oriented.

“We offer so many things that are affordable that a family can come to, spend their time, not spend a fortune, and enjoy a trip to the Black Hills,” Senftner said.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News