COVID-19 Weekly Research Update


August 28, 2020

Happy Friday, Industry Friends!

It has been another busy week in the department as we prepared for the launch of our first ever national television buy. The ad features Governor Noem inviting people from around the country to consider South Dakota as a place to live, work, and safely explore. The spot began running on Fox News this week and will expand to other national cable outlets in the coming days. We are excited for this opportunity to showcase our beautiful state with so many who may be seeing our Great Faces and Great Places for the first time.

We hope you have found our COVID-19 Weekly Research Report to be helpful over the past few months as we navigate the pandemic together. Moving forward, we plan to send these bi-monthly, so look for the next update on September 11th. Here are this week's highlights:

  • For the week ending August 22, national travel spending remained unchanged from the prior week with travel spending being down -44% year-over-year.
  • Americans who feel the coronavirus situation will get worse in the next month dropped from 49% to 43% this week.
  • Total domestic air and hotel bookings in the U.S. were up 7.3% last week compared to the previous week, but still down 66% year-over-year.
  • Domestic bookings to Wyoming (-4%) Montana (-5%) and South Dakota (-21%) exhibited, by far, the lowest year-over-year declines.
  • International bookings for future travel to the U.S. increased by 6%, but were still down -76% compared to last year.
  • Last week, web traffic to increased +97% versus the same time period last year.
  • 93% of those who visited Mount Rushmore National Memorial since the start of the pandemic have traveled more than 200 miles, with the top 5 DMAs of origin being Minneapolis (8%), Denver (6%), Rapid City (5%), Chicago (4%) and Sioux Falls (4%).
  • Traffic to national parks continues to be predominantly from tourists (75%) vs. locals (25%), with more than 70% driving more than 100 miles to visit.
  • Close to half of all Americans (48%) state they are ready to attend conferences or conventions in-person.

Thank you to our research partners for providing this information: H2R Market Research, Tourism Economics, Destination Analysts, STR, U.S. Travel Association, Arrivalist, Miles Partnership, MMGY Travel Intelligence, ADARA, and Longwoods International.

Have a great last weekend of August!

All our best,
Jim & Team

Jim Hagen
Secretary of Tourism



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