South Dakota tourism to take major hit amid COVID-19 pandemic
PIERRE, S.D. — South Dakota’s tourism industry will be taking a major hit this year.
Tourism Secretary James Hagen says the impact of COVID-19 on tourism around the country will be seven times greater than the impact of 9/11.
“In fact, the first week into this pandemic I heard from one of our hoteliers in the Black Hills and he said, ‘Jim, I’ve already lost a million dollars in reservations in just one of my hotels’,” said Hagen. “So things are tough out there, we know that.”
To assist the industry, Hagen says the department is joining with the Small Business Administration in reaching out to tourism businesses to ensure they’re aware of all aid and relief available to them. Haven says the department has received encouraging e-mails from people around the globe about visiting South Dakota.
“This is what the people have said to me, ‘We have either been to your state before of we’ve heard about your state and we want to tell you when we get through, we’re going to come and visit South Dakota. We’re going to be there for you’,” said Hagen.
Hagen is also pleading with South Dakotans to help the industry rebound, once we get through the pandemic.