Tourism Secretary Jim Hagen look back on summer’s tourism season

PIERRE, S.D.(WNAX)- September and Labor Day mark a transition from the busy summer travel season to an usually slower fall season.

South Dakota Tourism Department Secretary Jim Hagen says so far, its hard to compare this year with last year.

Hagen says they are looking back to 2019, the last year before the pandemic.

Hagen says they are tracking an increase in visitor spending.

Labor Day means the end of the busy summer travel time but doesn’t end visitation opportunities.

South Dakota State Tourism Secretary Jim Hagen says they continue to work on the so called “shoulder seasons”.

Hagen says they want to see more visitors in all seasons.

Hagen says they are also working to spread out visitation beyond the Black Hills.

Hagen says their best visitation growth potential is outside the traditional summer season.

Hagen said they were concerned in June when gas prices peaked just under five dollars a gallon. Those prices have now eased into the mid three-dollar range.