FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thurs., April 21, 2022
: Katlyn Svendsen, Global Media & Public Relations Director, South Dakota Department of Tourism, 605-773-3301


PIERRE, S.D. – In 2021, visitor spending in South Dakota reached a record high of $4.4 billion. A recent analysis shows all areas of South Dakota rebounded significantly in 2021.

The detailed analysis, done by Tourism Economics, indicates a majority of visitor activity took place in Minnehaha, Pennington, Lawrence, Brown and Custer counties, making up 68% of all visitor spending.

While the majority of visitor activity took place in these five counties in 2021, all counties in South Dakota saw an increase over 2020. 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%).  

“In addition to the impressive growth over 2020, we were pleased to see 43 counties surpass pre-pandemic levels of visitor spending,” said Jim Hagen, Secretary of the Department of Tourism. “The impact these visitors have on communities across our state is significant. These visitors come to enjoy the beauty of our open prairies, fish our pristine lakes and abundant rivers, hunt our bountiful fields and stand in awe at our monuments. These visitors support the diners, marinas, hotels and attractions in communities large and small.”

The resiliency of South Dakota’s tourism industry has proven to be the best in the nation. South Dakota was the first state in the nation to fully recover from the pandemic, and visitor activity helped keep South Dakota citizens employed during a challenging time.

“Our industry has so much to be proud of,” said Hagen. “This industry supported more than 54,000 jobs and provided 1.8 billion dollars in household income to South Dakota families.”

To view the full Tourism Economics County and Region Level Impact Report, visit

The South Dakota Department of Tourism is comprised of Tourism and the South Dakota Arts Council. The department is led by Secretary James Hagen.




  • Source: Tourism Economics
  • All stats reflect calendar year 2021 numbers over 2020 unless otherwise noted. 

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