Keeping a close eye on travel trends is an important function for the Department of Tourism.

Data and marketing research is a key component in any destination marketing organization’s toolkit. We strive to make the data usable, for us and for our industry, whether it be through the Monthly Travel Indicators below, through the Quarterly Insights email, or annual studies. Data doesn't hold much value if it isn't informing creative media placements or content strategy, helping target visitors most likely to travel to South Dakota, and - most importantly - improving the visitor experience.  If there are specific questions that you have regarding visitation, markets, interest types, audience demographics or media preferences, please contact Kirk Hulstein or call 605-773-3301.

Monthly Travel Indicators

Travel Indicator reports for October are in with many of the metrics showing positive growth. The hotel industry had an especially strong month with total room nights reaching 1.2 million and growing 6.7% compared to October 2017. While state and national park visitation (Park Visits) declined 3.8% CYTD, this is coming off of a record year for Mount Rushmore National Memorial, which makes up a significant portion of that indicator.

The outlook for travel continues to look positive with gas prices on the decline, economic indicators showing strength and consumer confidence reaching levels not seen since 2000. With that said, a major factor to consider is the slowing Ag economy across the Midwest and the decrease in discretionary income for many of our visitors across the region.

Monthly Indicator Dashboard

Yearly Totals


South Dakota generated $298 million in state and local taxes in 2018.


Amount each household in South Dakota would need to be taxed to replace the traveler taxes received by state and local governments.


Average visitors spend each day in South Dakota.

Tourism Reports