PIERRE — The Mount Rushmore July 3 celebration yielded $2 million in direct spending and $22 million in advertising value for the state of South Dakota.

Wanda Goodman, deputy secretary with the S.D. Department of Tourism reported those numbers to the S.D. Tourism Advisory Board recently. Of the estimated $2 million in direct spending, the state saw about $160,000 in immediate tax revenues for state and local governments.

The $2 million in direct spending is based on conservative estimates from the S.D. Department of Tourism, with guidance from Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company. Based on the state of origins for the applications received for the ticket lottery, state officials report that Black Hills residents comprised about 10% of the event attendees and each spent about $54 per day; 22% of event attendees were from other parts of South Dakota and each one spent about $115 per day; and 68% of those attending the event were from out of state, with each spending about $120 per day.  

That revenue compares to the $1.5 million price tag for the event. Event costs included $60,000 for pre-event planning; $125,000 for travel costs for the Incident Management Team; $80,000 for labor costs, $3,500 for supplies; $4,500 for equipment; $40,000 for contracts; $88,000 for wildland fire support;  $350,000 for fireworks; $47,000 for shuttle buses; $50,000 for jumbotrons; and $475,000 in miscellaneous costs. Katlyn Richter of the S.D. Department of Tourism said those costs were shared by federal, state and local agencies. Funding for the fireworks came from South Dakota Future Funds, a fund designated to support workforce development within the state.

Richter said the $22 million in advertising value for tourism to the state of South Dakota is based on conservative estimates for the value the state received from strategic global media coverage. During the July 3 event, Richter said Google searches for Mount Rushmore reached an all-time high, at a rate that was 1,250 percent higher than the previous record set in 2005. Web traffic for the S.D. Department of Tourism site TravelSouthDakota.com saw an increase of 872% compared to July 3-4, 2019 — traffic that was worth about $95,000 in paid promotions.

“Our goal with the fireworks celebration was to put a spotlight on the grandeur of Mount Rushmore National Memorial and position South Dakota front and center in the minds of potential visitors,” said Jim Hagen, Secretary of the Department of Tourism. “We couldn’t be happier about the tens of millions of viewers who tuned in to see the majesty of this national icon and our beautiful Black Hills. We’re confident this exposure will inspire those viewers to ad the Great Faces and Great Places of South Dakota to their bucket list of vacation destinations, whether that be yet this year or in the years to come.”

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