Fourth of July weekend brings optimism to Black Hills businesses
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Two million dollars in direct sales came to South Dakota from the thousands of tourists who visited the state during the Fourth of July weekend.
A total of $160,000 alone being estimated in sales tax revenue, which usually takes two months for the final numbers.
“And that added to the tax base for state and local governments and it drove commerce for our small businesses around the state and that is very important,” said James Hagen, the Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Tourism.
The economic impact to the Black Hills can only be estimated at this time, but Secretary Hagen and tourism agencies are optimistic, despite hotel occupancy averaging at about 40 to 45 percent. A normal year would be 80 to 100 percent.
“We were almost at 90 percent capacity in Rapid City during that weekend,” said Julie Jensen, the President & CEO of Visit Rapid City. “And that is remarkable considering how low we were in March, April and May.”
The Black Hills outdoor recreation and camping business, though slow to start, is booming with business adding to the optimism felt by industry leaders.
“The rest of the season looks very good, yes,” said Fritz Weiss, the Manager of Happy Holiday RV Resort. “Hopefully we’ll make up for some of the loss earlier in the season.”
Rapid City saw a great deal of foot traffic during July third. Downtown and Main Street businesses reporting an average Fourth of July, if not busier.
“People from in state, out of state, east coast, west coast, everywhere; good numbers, good foot traffic, everything,” said Frank Night Pipe, the Sales Manager of Prairie Edge.