The tourism industry in South Dakota set a new record last year as visitor spending in the state in 2021 hit $4.4 billion.

The latest state numbers come from a detailed analysis done by Tourism Economics. In 2021, Minnehaha, Pennington, Lawrence, Brown, and Custer counties accounted for 68% of all visitor spending in the state.

Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Tourism Jim Hagen says 43 counties surpassed pre-pandemic tourism levels.

The counties that experienced the largest year-over-year growth compared to 2020 were Todd (44%), Pennington (40%), Meade (39%), Lawrence (37%) and Buffalo (36%).

Hagen says they’re really eager for the summer to get underway, to see what those peak season numbers will be like this year.

Hagen says tourism dollars support more than 54,000 jobs in the state.


April 28. 2022