COVID-19 Weekly Research Update


July 10, 2020

Happy July, Tourism Partners!

We hope you were able to watch or attend the Mount Rushmore Fireworks Celebration last week. It was a tremendous day and evening. We continue to calculate the economic impact and media coverage of the event. Thus far, we are extremely happy to share very conservative estimates that:

  • Attendees spent more than $2 million while they were here for the fireworks.
  • Their spending generated more than $160,000 in sales tax revenue for state and local governments.
  • The show has generated more than $22 million in media coverage.

We hope to have even more updated numbers to report in the next Mile Marker.

We want to thank our industry for your support and assistance with the show. We know the event will inspire and influence travel to our state, now and into the future. In recent days, we have received numerous emails from potential visitors around the nation thanking our state for hosting the fireworks. They have also shared that they now have South Dakota squarely in their sights for a future trip. Excellent!

Here are some highlights from this week’s COVID-19 update:

  • From June 28 to July 4, traffic to increased 398% over the prior year. Much of this traffic can be attributed to the Mount Rushmore Fireworks event held on July 3rd.
  • While still seeing year-over-year declines of -26%, South Dakota continues to see improved travel spending that surpasses the national average and those of other states in our region.
  • The percentage of Americans who say they cancelled their trip completely increased significantly from 37% last week to 45% this week.
  • The percentage of American travelers who now feel safe traveling outside their community has fallen to 41%, a new low since mid-May.
  • 63% of consumers now feel that the severity of the coronavirus in the US will worsen in the next month.
  • A thorough cleaning and hygiene plan continues to be the most important factor to Americans who are considering leisure activities, attractions or tours.

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.

As you can see, consumer sentiment has turned a bit more pessimistic and negative about the virus and travel. Now more than ever, it will be important for us to share with our visitors that:

  1. South Dakota is ready to safely welcome them to our state, whether that be yet this summer, fall, or next year.
  2. Your business has meticulously implemented - and is following - all the latest health and hygiene protocols to keep our guests safe and well.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if we can help you with anything. I can always be reached at [email protected]. Enjoy the weekend! We’ll be in touch again soon.

We wish you all a wonderful weekend. Stay well! THANKS for all you are doing!

All our best,
Jim & Team

Jim Hagen
Secretary of Tourism



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