Travel and Tourism Week recognizes industry’s strength

PIERRE, S.D. (DRG News) – South Dakota welcomed 14.5 million visitors last year (2019)– a number the 2020 tourism season isn’t likely to get close to.

State Department of Tourism deputy secretary Wanda Goodman says this week’s National Travel and Tourism Week (May 3-9) theme recognizes the industry’s strength and resiliency.

She says travel restrictions caused by COVID-19 have this year’s tourism season looking markedly different.

Goodman says people should follow social distancing and personal hygiene guidelines from the CDC and the State of South Dakota, but that doesn’t mean people can’t travel.

Visitors to South Dakota spent $4.1 billion in 2019, an increase of 2.8% over the previous year. This spending flowed through the economy and contributed $2.75 billion in GDP, accounting for 5.2% of the state’s economy.