Travel: Good For The Soul, Good For South Dakota
A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard:
The late travel writer Eugene Fodor once said, “You don’t have to be rich to travel well.” Here in South Dakota, we think that’s especially true. Every year, our highways and Interstates are filled with people from every demographic looking for something new in South Dakota. And whether they’re lifelong residents or visitors from another country, everyone seems to find memories to last a lifetime courtesy of our beautiful state.
You don’t have to be rich to travel in South Dakota, but every penny spent on gas, lodging, food and souvenirs adds up to big impacts on the local and national economy. In the United States, travel is among the largest private-sector employers, supporting 15 million jobs in 2014. In 2015, traveler spending directly generated tax revenues of $141.5 billion for federal, state and local governments, including $270 million for state and local governments in South Dakota.
Because we share the beauty of our state with visitors from across the globe while keeping our economy strong, travel and tourism make for a win-win situation in South Dakota. We’re happy and thankful that others can discover what we’ve always known, that South Dakota is a land of infinite variety full of great faces and great places. We’re also grateful for the economic benefits that come from hosting our many visitors, allowing us to support essential services and programs throughout the state.
The benefits of travel and tourism are too many to capture in just one column. That’s one of the reasons I declared May 1-7, 2016, as National Travel and Tourism Week in South Dakota. As the week comes to a close, let’s recognize how much our tourism industry contributes to our state. Let’s also realize how fortunate we are to live in a place that people from all over the world come to see. Whether it’s the towering power of Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Crazy Horse Memorial or a good cup of coffee and piece of pie from a small-town diner, there’s always another place where you can find something new, unique and exciting in South Dakota.