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South Dakota Tourism

Rapid City Tourism Industry Bring More Than $300 Million to Local Economy

Jan 30, 2011

RNewly released information shows significant increases in visitor spending in Pennington county, SD for 2010. Over $304 million was spent in the Rapid City area by visitors last year, an 11.5% increase from the previous year.

Visitor spending in Pennington County jumped 11.5% last year, bringing the total amount of traveler money spent in 2010 to $304,229,485. According to research released by the South Dakota Department of Tourism, Pennington County generated more visitor income than any other county in the state, more than doubling the next largest contribution.

“During the past two years, the travel industry across the country has been down, in some cases significantly. The Rapid City area fared better than most, but our growth was minimal,” said Michelle Lintz, executive director of the Rapid City Convention & Visitors Bureau. “To see double digit growth in is fantastic, especially when you consider the overall impact of those visitor dollars on our community.”

The number of rooms booked within Rapid City in 2010 also rose 7.3% over the previous year to more than 633,000 rooms. The number of rooms booked each month increased over the previous year, and not just during the busy summer season.

Researchers tally the money spent on lodging, food and beverages, attractions and miscellaneous retail items when calculating the direct size of the visitor industry ($304 million in Pennington County in 2010). However tourism continues to impact the local economy beyond the dollars directly paid by visitors. Businesses in the travel industry build and repair properties, buy supplies and services as well as pay employee wages and benefits.

These activities make up the indirect impact of tourism. Dollars spent directly and indirectly on tourism together make up the total economic impact. Since 1986, South Dakota has used a multiplier of 2.5 when calculating total economic impact. Based on this formula, Rapid City and Pennington County generated $760,573,712, or more than three quarters of a billion dollars, through the tourism industry in 2010.

“There’s no denying the impact tourism has on our community,” says Lintz. “Even if you don’t think you’re part of the visitor industry, you are. Every time you’re friendly or helpful to a tourist, you’re contributing to this critical part of our local and state economy.”

One out of every 11 jobs in South Dakota is in the visitor industry. To read the full reports compiled for the South Dakota Department of Tourism, visit

The Rapid City CVB is a division of the Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce. The CVB’s mission is to market the Rapid City area as a convention and leisure destination and to promote economic growth that will enhance the area for visitors and residents.

Rapid City Tourism Industry  Bring More Than $300 Million to Local Economy

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