COVID-19 Weekly Research Update


August 21, 2020

Hello, Tourism Friends!

We hope you are all doing well as we head into the final stretch of the peak season. We are seeing some positive movement in travel spending and consumer sentiment again this week. South Dakota continues to surpass national and regional averages in travel spending, domestic bookings and hotel occupancy.

Here are a few highlights from the latest COVID-19 Weekly Research Report:

  • The percentage of those who feel the coronavirus situation in the U.S. will get worse in the next month dropped from 55.6% last week to 49.1% this week.
  • For the week ending August 15, national travel spending was down - 44%. Even though national spending continues to be depressed, it was the fifth consecutive week of expansion (growing 5%).
  • South Dakota’s average hotel occupancy in July reached 64.5% which was the second highest in the U.S., surpassed only by Idaho at 66.1%. The U.S. average was 44.6%.
  • The western region of South Dakota led hotel occupancy in July reaching 70.8%.
  • Consumer preference for outdoor recreation continues to grow. Visitation to our state park system surpassed 5 million visitors YTD, which is a 28% increase compared to last year.
  • International visitors still have strong intentions to visit the U.S. as their next international destination when they feel comfortable traveling again.

Thank you to our research partners for providing this information: Tourism Economics, Destination Analysts, STR, U.S. Travel Association, Arrivalist, Miles Partnership, MMGY Travel Intelligence, ADARA, and Longwoods International.

Please drop us a line to let us know how you are doing and if we can be of assistance in any way. Don’t forget we have a lot of information on our COVID-19 Information and Resource page on if you need it. We appreciate each of you and the work you do to safely showcase our state’s Great Faces and Great Places to visitors from around the globe.

Enjoy the weekend!

All our best,
Jim & Team

Jim Hagen
Secretary of Tourism



Department of Tourism COVID-19 Resource Page
State of South Dakota COVID-19 website