Tourism report shows impact on Black Hills region

RAPID CITY, S.D.– There are over 400 total points of interest across the country that have been recognized by the National Parks Service. In South Dakota alone there are five that reside West River, which are huge driving factors for tourism-based economic gains.

South Dakota Tourism 10At Jewel Cave National Monument and Wind Cave National Park, officials have adopted a new reservations system.

Rather than leave large groups of people standing around outside for tickets on a first-come first-served basis, they have made online bookings available to make processes go smoother.

“We have tours completely sell out on that site. If we have any tour tickets that don’t sell out, we sell them in-person on the day of,” Chief of Interpretations for Jewel Cave National Monument Aimee Murillo said. “They kind of become an extra walk-up tour ticket which is nice.”

In the Black Hills region, close to 4 million people visited national parks and sites during the 2021 season, contributing over $300 million in revenue for the state’s economy and thousands of job opportunities.

“These people are not only coming and visiting the park, but they are also spending the money on the local economy,” Chief of Interpretations for Wind Cave National Park Tom Farrell said. “We all contributed to over 500 jobs last year and helped add about $50 million to the area economy”

And according to Visit Rapid City President and C.E.O Brook Kaufman, families and adventure-seekers tend to round out the bulk of travelers to the region. As visitors head to the Black Hills for trips and outdoor recreational activities, national parks serve as a major stepping stone to the area.

“So as we continue to market our area, we lead with some of those things in addition to the national parks — those type of recreational things we have to see and do, or the family-friendly things,” Kaufman explained. “Those really do help draw visitors to our area.”

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News