Travel Forward – Celebrating National Travel and Tourism Week
By: Governor Kristi Noem
May 5, 2023
“Everyone must visit beautiful South Dakota. Pack your bags and rush to the car and start driving. With so many fun and exciting things to see and do, what will you do first?” Those are the words of an elementary school student who visited the Black Hills with his family last summer. He wrote a school report on his trip called “The Best Place to Visit.”
Stories like this are why we’re celebrating National Travel and Tourism Week. From May 7-13, we will appreciate and honor everything that the travel & tourism industry does for South Dakota.
Tourism is one of South Dakota’s largest industries. Visitors spent a record-breaking $4.7 billion in 2022, generating 11% of total state sales tax collections. And the money that tourism brings in every year eases every South Dakota household’s tax burden by $1,011.
We are so fortunate to welcome people from across the nation and around the world to our “Great Faces, Great Places.” Here in South Dakota, visitors get to create lifelong memories, and every one of our citizens benefits from that.
We broke records last year, but 2023 is looking even better for the travel industry. 84% of Americans have a tentative trip planned for the next 12 months, with the majority planning to travel in June and July. Excitement for leisure travel is at a record high level – and domestic leisure is travelers’ top discretionary spending priority. While many are concerned about the national economic climate, 53% of consumers are prioritizing travel in 2023, and 93% have travel plans in the next 6 months.
This all fits perfectly with the theme of National Travel and Tourism week: Travel Forward. We as South Dakotans know that attitude well. No matter what we face, our state’s residents know how to buckle down and keep moving forward. We also know how to celebrate – so let’s do it. Let’s come together and use this week as a time to celebrate South Dakota’s thriving travel industry.
We can do this in a lot of different ways. Share your favorite South Dakota stories, destinations, and pictures on social media with #HifromSD, #NTTW23, and #TravelForward to show your appreciation for our hard-working tourism folks during National Travel and Tourism Week from May 7-13.
Most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy this amazing state yourself. Head out in a direction you’ve never been to see what you can find. Discovery is everywhere in this state. Take some time to explore. Even as a lifelong South Dakotan, I am always surprised with the sights and delights I continue to find across our great state. Whether it’s a fresh donut from a small-town bakery, or crossing Spearfish Canyon off your bucket list, see what you can discover. I promise you’ll be surprised with how much is out there.
National Travel and Tourism Week is an important celebration of one of South Dakota’s strongest and most beautiful industries. Let’s rejoice. Let’s explore. Let’s “Travel Forward” into what’s sure to be one of the state’s best tourism years ever.