Regional Travel Industry Reviews 2022 Tourism Season | Black Hills & Badlands - South Dakota

Regional Travel Industry Reviews 2022 Tourism Season

  • Regional Travel Industry Reviews 2022 Tourism Season

Black Hills & Badlands Tourism Association held its 83rd Annual Membership Meeting, Luncheon and Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, Oct. 26, at the Best Western Ramkota in Rapid City.

U.S. Senator John Thune kicked off the meeting by briefing attendees about issues that affect the tourism industry.

Over 100 regional travel industry leaders, including BH&B's board of directors, area chambers of commerce and destination marketing organizations, parks and public lands, the South Dakota Department of Tourism, state and local representatives, area attractions and other organizations throughout the Black Hills and Badlands region attended the event.

Economic Impact of Tourism on the Black Hills and Badlands Regional Economy

During the annual meeting, the tourism-marketing group shared the success of their 2022 programming and how they promoted the Black Hills and Badlands region.

“Over the past year, we saw that BH&B and the regional tourism industry remained united in a shared goal to increase visitor numbers, trip duration and visitor sales,” said Michelle Thomson, president and CEO of BH&B. “Because of this, the regional tourism industry returned to numbers similar to 2019, prior to the pandemic. And with it, many great things came out of 2022.”

Thomson reported on the positive economic impact travel had on the region in the FY2022, Oct. 1, 2021, to Sept. 30, 2022.

Visitors spent $2 billion in the Black Hills and Badlands region from August 2021 to August 2022. 

Travel to the region generated a 9.4% YOY increase in tax revenue from October 2021 to August 2022, totaling $456.54 million.

During this same timeframe, $1.37 billion in gaming revenue came from Deadwood, a 5% YOY increase.

The Black Hills and Badlands regional tourism industry supported 21,500 jobs in 2021, which is 40% of all tourism jobs and 8.7% of all South Dakota Jobs.

For a detailed overview, view or download the 2022 BH&B Annual Report.

Results of the Board of Directors Elections

BH&B presented the newly elected slate of board members, which the members in attendance approved.

New board members include Benjamin Larson, Rushmore Tramway Adventures; Gwyn Wathen, Recreational Adventures Company; Jerry Sailer, Black Hills Contraband Distillery; Steve Saint, Fort WeLikIt Campground; Megan Johnson, Rapid City Regional Airport; Diana Nielsen, Mount Rushmore Society; and Randi Sulzbach, Black Hills Vacations.

Toni Woodruff, The Sturgis Buffalo Chip, will serve as the 2023 chair of the board; Kelsey Clark, Wall Badlands Area Chamber, will serve as the vice chair, and Carrie Gerlach, Black Hills Adventure Tours, will serve as the incoming treasurer.

The board of directors plays a vital role in BH&B’s success. It represents diverse members throughout the industry and community and provides strategic oversight, guidance and influence to support BH&B's mission. 

Awards Ceremony

BH&B presented awards to individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the tourism industry.

The Black Hills Powwow received the Special Achievement Award for their work toward becoming one of the premier American Indian cultural events in the United States. The event draws hundreds of performers and thousands of spectators from across North America to the Black Hills of South Dakota.


Stan Anderson, Wall, and Michelle Lintz, Rapid City, received the Black Hills and Badlands Tourism Pioneer Award for their contributions to the tourism industry and on the city, region and state levels over multiple decades.

Strategic Visioning Workshop

Kristi Wagner, Rushmore Center for Civic Leadership, led the Strategic Visioning Workshop following the Annual Meeting. Attendees participated in an in-depth discussion to help guide the association's strategic direction.


We'd like to thank this year's sponsors. Their financial partnership with the industry is essential to making the Annual Meeting possible. 

Crazy Horse Memorial®, Sturgis Buffalo Chip®, Black Hills Adventure Tours, Mount Rushmore Society, Mount Rushmore Concessions, Museum at Black Hills Institute, Reptile Gardens, Rush No More RV Park & Campground, Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce, Visit Rapid City and Visit Spearfish.