Sturgis Rally travel tips & COVID-19 Weekly Research Update


July 31, 2020

Happy July 31st, Industry Partners

It’s hard to believe the last day of July is already here. The summer is flying by.

We continued to see positive movement in regard to travel spending and visitation in South Dakota this past week, despite a downturn nationally in consumer sentiment when it comes to the safety of travel and a belief that things are going to get worse with the coronavirus. Here are some highlights from our latest COVID-19 Weekly Update:

  • South Dakota was one of 29 states that experienced increases in hotel search and bookings over the prior week.
  • The percent of American travelers who feel the pandemic will worsen over the next month increased to 61.5%.
  • 45% of American travelers stated this past week that they would not travel until a vaccine is approved and is being administered.
  • 18.2% of American travelers expect they may take their next road trip in August.
  • Road trips to and within South Dakota declined by 3% this week vs. the prior week.
  • The U.S. hotel occupancy rate reached an average of 48% last week, a decrease of -38% vs. prior year.
  • When asked about the timing of their next international trip, a significant share of respondents are now looking at the summer of 2021.

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.

Here are a few other items we want to bring to your attention as July comes to a close:

  1. With the 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally just around the corner, we want to share information regarding the COVID-19 checkpoints occurring on some of the tribal lands in South Dakota.

    These checkpoints have been put in place by these tribes to protect their residents from additional COVID-19 exposure. It’s critical we work together to do our part to provide accurate information to visitors and residents alike about their trip through South Dakota. Please use this printable one-sheeter to share information and locations of current checkpoints. You can also visit to view travel disruptions and road construction information. Information is also available by calling 5-1-1.

  2. We have placed some new resources from the Department of Health on our COVID-19 Health and Cleaning resource page on
  3. Governor Noem recently announced the launch of UpSkill, a program to support workers dislocated by COVID-19. UpSkill consists of 22 online certificate programs in high-demand fields, including business, healthcare, information technology, and manufacturing. The programs will begin this fall at the state’s four technical colleges.

    UpSkill participants will earn credentials at little or no cost. The Board of Technical Education and the Department of Labor and Regulation (DLR) are partnering to support UpSkill participants. Participants must be eligible for re-employment assistance through DLR and be deemed a dislocated worker.

    Dislocated workers in South Dakota are encouraged to apply for the UpSkill program immediately. After completing an UpSkill program, participants can enter a new career field, advance in their current field, or continue their education. More information can be found at

We wish you all a wonderful weekend. Let’s continue to work hard to keep our visitors, our teams, and ourselves well as we enter Rally month. Please let us know if we can be of any assistance to you.

All our best,
Jim & Team

Jim Hagen
Secretary of Tourism



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