PIERRE, S.D. – Visitor spending in South Dakota set an all-time record in 2021.

According to the annual study conducted by Tourism Economics, visitors to South Dakota spent 4.4 billion dollars, an increase of 30% over 2020. This surpasses all previous records by 6%. South Dakota was officially the first state to fully recover to pre-pandemic levels of visitor spending.

South Dakota also welcomed 13.5 million visitors, an increase of 26% over 2020.

“South Dakota’s tourism industry stayed open for business and open for visitors, working tirelessly to support millions of visitors who chose South Dakota as their vacation destination,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “Their record-breaking efforts have contributed to our state’s record revenues, jump-starting our state’s economy to make it the strongest in the nation.”

The tourism industry remains essential to South Dakota’s economy providing an indispensable source of job creation and household income to thousands. 54,208 jobs in South Dakota were supported by the tourism industry, which generated 1.8 billion dollars income for those families.

“Tourism in South Dakota is a job-creating, revenue-generating machine that plays a vital role in supporting the state’s economy year after year," said Jim Hagen, Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Tourism. “It's not just valuable for the State of South Dakota -- these efforts impact communities and families throughout our state.”

In 2021, tourism generated $344 million in state & local tax revenue. Without tourism in South Dakota, each household would pay an additional $980 more in taxes each year.

To view the full 2021 Tourism Economics report, visit SDVisit.com.

The South Dakota Department of Tourism is comprised of Tourism and the South Dakota Arts Council. The department is led by Secretary James Hagen.



  • Key stats:
    • Visitor spending reached 4.4 billion dollars, an increase of 30% over 2020, and a new record
    • 13.5 million – number of visitors that came to South Dakota, an increase of 26% from 2020
    • 5.2 million – the number of hotel room nights booked in 2021
    • 8.3 million – a record number of visitors to South Dakota’s state parks, representing a 3% increase
  • Please see attached for complete 2021 economic impact figures and travel indicators.
  • All data reflects calendar year 2021 numbers over 2020 unless otherwise noted.
  • Photo for the tourism conference going on this week in Pierre found here.
  • Source: Tourism Economics, AirDNA, STR


Katlyn Svendsen, Global Media & Public Relations Director
South Dakota Department of Tourism
Email: [email protected]