South Dakota tourism continues growth in 2017

South Dakota

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - Officials say South Dakota tourism continued growing in 2017, with increases in visitation, visitor spending and overall impact on the state's economy.

Tourism marked its eighth consecutive year of economic growth in South Dakota last year.

A new study by Tourism Economics finds that visitor spending in South Dakota reached $3.9 billion in 2017, an increase of 1.2 percent from 2016. The report says this contributed $2.6 billion in gross domestic product to South Dakota's economy, up 3.2 percent from 2016. Tourism supported more than 53,900 jobs and generated more than $290 million in state and local tax revenue.

Visitation to South Dakota remained steady at 13.9 million visitors, a slight increase from the previous year.

James Hagen, secretary of the Department of Tourism, says while South Dakota's tourism industry felt the effects of the struggling agriculture economy and decreased discretionary income of households in the region, tourism demonstrated "great perseverance."

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