National Travel and Tourism Week

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National Travel and Tourism Week


By: Governor Kristi Noem

May 24, 2024


As the beautiful vibrant colors of spring paint our landscapes and the sweet scent of renewal fills the air, it’s time to celebrate one of the most thrilling aspects of South Dakota: travel and tourism. We are just wrapping up National Travel and Tourism Week.  It’s a perfect time to embark on a journey of appreciation for the countless blessings and opportunities that come with exploring our beautiful state.


Tourism is our second largest industry here in South Dakota, contributing billions of dollars to our state's economy each year. In 2023, tourism brought a grand total of 14.7 million visitors here. Those visitors spent $4.96 billion, generating $384 million in tax revenue, and supporting 57,835 jobs!


But the impact of travel and tourism extends far beyond economic gains. Travel creates lifelong memories among families, allows us to meet new people, and has the power to unite us at a time when the world often feels divided. Tourism gives us the perfect opportunity to show off our world-renowned South Dakota hospitality.


Travel and tourism are also woven into the fabric of our communities. The tourism industry supports countless small businesses, local artisans, and entrepreneurs who rely on visitors to sustain their livelihoods. From quaint bed and breakfasts to family-owned restaurants serving up hearty Midwestern fare, these establishments are the lifeblood of our towns and cities, infusing them with character and charm that our visitors say they love.


I heard about one family who visited from Australia for Christmas. They said their trip was, “magical…the best Christmas EVER!” And their eight-year-old daughter plans to come back for every Christmas forever. They loved cutting down their own Christmas tree, the 1880 Train, Mammoth Site, sledding, and the prairie dogs – it even snowed for them on Christmas Day! 


Whether it’s exploring the iconic Mount Rushmore National Memorial, marveling at the otherworldly landscapes of Badlands National Park, or immersing oneself in the rich history of De Smet and our pioneering history, our state offers so many unique experiences that cater to every taste and interest. As we close out National Travel and Tourism Week, our peak tourism season is still just beginning. So let us continue to embrace exploration and welcome the world to experience the beauty and hospitality of our great nation.


If you or a family you know is interested in visiting beautiful South Dakota, visit and start planning your trip today.


Here’s to the spirit of adventure, the joy of discovery, and the endless possibilities that await us on the open road. Happy National Travel and Tourism Week, South Dakota!