Tourism officials, businesses say 2015 shaping up strong

29 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Rally, weather help South Dakota tourism rev along in 2015.

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Officials say tourism is surging so far this year in South Dakota, spurred on by landmark events such as the 75th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, good weather and reasonable gas prices. The state Tourism Department noted nearly $350 million in tourism taxable sales for this year at the end of July, which is more than 14 percent higher than the same period last year. Across the state, businesses and officials say it’s shaping up to be a big year for tourism, a pillar industry that brought in an estimated $2 billion to South Dakota’s economy last year.

Pugsley is also expecting larger-than-usual crowds for the Buffalo Roundup in September, which he called “a good economic shot in the arm” for that time of year. That margin was significantly higher around the rally, he said, and Wall’s tourist magnet brought on a dozen extra employees to handle the rally business. “Six percent would be good,” he said of the gains this year. “Twelve percent is amazing.” Jacquie Fuks, executive director of Southeast South Dakota Tourism, said tourism advertising has started coming out earlier.

The retired 59-year-old said they drove from Minnesota and fished near Chamberlain on the Missouri river before heading to the Black Hills area to explore Custer and the Badlands.

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