COVID-19 Weekly Research Update


July 17, 2020

Happy Friday, Industry Partners!

A few items worth noting from the COVID-19 Weekly Research update this week:

  • Losing ground for the first time in weeks, South Dakota travel spending last week dipped from -26% to -31%. Even with this decrease, South Dakota continues to surpass other neighboring states.
  • This week, South Dakota is one of only 13 states to show increases in searches, bookings, and forecasted searches.
  • South Dakota hotel occupancy averaged 51% for the month of June. This is a 31% decrease when compared to the prior year.
  • Travelers continue to report being twice as likely to travel by personal car (67%) than by any other form of transportation. And one-third of those respondents are likely to drive 300 miles or more each way from home for a vacation, with one in five willing to travel 500 miles or more.
  • The recent surge in COVID-19 cases has greatly affected travel sentiment in the US: The perceived safety of travel-related activities has worsened significantly since early June, and the percent of travelers agreeing they will be traveling in the fall has dropped from nearly 50% in early June to 36%.
  • After surpassing pre-pandemic levels over the Fourth of July holiday, road travel reverted back to early June levels.
  • Since hitting a low in April, airport arrivals to Rapid City and Sioux Falls Regional Airports have improved, but are still reporting decreases of around 50% when compared to last year.
  • American travelers’ perceived safety for visiting local, state or national parks now surpasses all other activities.

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.

Finally, a resource and great reminder from the U.S. Travel Association:

We encourage you to continue to use the resources available in the Travel Confidently Toolkit and on to demonstrate the consistent cleanliness measures travelers can expect to see throughout every touchpoint during their trip. The toolkit also includes resources to promote the shared responsibility of travelers—including taking preventative measures such as wearing masks, practicing physical distancing and regularly washing hands—to ensure a safe and healthy travel experience for all.

We will be in touch early next week through our monthly Mile Marker. Be on the look-out for it. Enjoy the weekend and continue to take good care of yourselves and our visitors.

All our best,
Jim & Team

Jim Hagen
Secretary of Tourism



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