PIERRE, S.D. – A recent detailed analysis of visitor spending in every county in South Dakota shows that visitor spending is 21% higher than pre-pandemic levels (2019) and 4.9% higher than 2022 numbers.

Minnehaha County (29.3%) and Pennington County (19.3%) make up the largest share of visitor spending in South Dakota. Both the Southeast and Black Hills and Badlands regions are nearing $2 billion in visitor spending annually, with each exceeding $1.9 billion in 2023.

“People visit South Dakota from all over to enjoy our Freedom, experience the beauty of our open prairies, explore our parks, fish our waters, hunt our fields, and stand in awe at our monuments,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “Tourism is our second largest industry. And when tourism thrives, it helps our communities, businesses, and families succeed and flourish.”

The Black Hills and Badlands region experienced the strongest year-over-year visitor spending growth, exceeding 2022 visitor spending levels by 5.8%, an increase of more than $104 million. Custer, Lawrence, Haakon, and Jackson counties all exceeded 10% growth for the year.

The Southeast region also experienced strong visitor spending growth with a 5.2% increase, exceeding 2022 levels by nearly $100 million.

The Glacial Lakes and Prairies region grew visitor spending by 2.9% to reach just under $700 million and increasing over the prior year by almost $20 million. Brown County made up 29% of the spending for this region at almost $200 million.

The Missouri River region led all regions in growth compared to 2019 spending levels, with visitor spending growing by 24%. The region also experienced a 3% increase when compared to 2022, exceeding the prior year’s visitor spending by $11.2 million. Hughes County experienced the most visitor spending activity in the region, reaching $97 million and making up 25% of the region’s total.

In 2023, visitor spending in South Dakota reached a record high of $4.96 billion, a 4.9% increase over 2022.

“Our industry has so much to be proud of,” said Hagen. “This industry supported more than 57,000 jobs and provided 2.2 billion dollars in household income to South Dakota families. These visitors and their dollars support diners, marinas, hotels and attractions in communities large and small in South Dakota.”

To view the full Tourism Economics County and Region Level Impact Report, visit

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


Media Notes:

  • Source: Tourism Economics
  • All stats reflect calendar year 2023 numbers over 2022 unless otherwise noted.


Katlyn Svendsen, Global Public Relations & Content Services Senior Director
Travel South Dakota
Email: [email protected]


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