BH Tourism Index: +2.84% | Black Hills & Badlands - South Dakota
  • BH Tourism Index: +2.84%

    With Memorial Day kicking off the summer season, reports from members and early web activity have 2016 ahead of last year's monumental numbers.

With Memorial Day kicking off the summer season, reports from members and early web activity have 2016 ahead of last year's monumental numbers. With most National Park Service use numbers in for May (Wind Cave and Devils Tower not yet reported) and taxable figures for April now in, those early reports are verified.

The Black Hills Tourism Index currently is up over 2015 by 2.84%. Increased interest in the region's park offerings is keeping the index up with recreational visits to the six national parks up 9.72% and the Black Hills region Hotel Occupancy up 2.5%.

In May, Mount Rushmore National Memorial saw 24,317 more recreational visitors, 13% more than in 2015 (which was up 9% from May 2014). Badlands National Park, which was recently named one of Lonely Planet's Top 10 Scenic National Parks, also saw double-digit growth for the month. Badlands was up almost 16% over 2015 with 12,624 more recreational visitors.

Whereas the interest in national parks is up in 2016 thanks to the National Park Centennial, May was a tough month for Deadwood's Total Gaming Handle. With recent cutbacks in both Wyoming and North Dakota, the total handle was down 9.2%.

While that may bear watching, all other indicators continue to support 2016 being a great year for the tourism industry in South Dakota.

For more information on the BH Tourism Index and/or its calculation, please contact BH&B's Vice President of Marketing, Mike Gussiaas, by emailing mike@blackhillsbadlands.com or calling (605) 355-3600.