2017 was a good year for tourism here in South Dakota.
That's according to numbers released Thursday at the South Dakota Governor's Tourism Conference in Pierre.
A new study from Tourism Economics shows that visitor spending reached $3.9 billion in the state last year, a 1.2 percent increase from the year before.
The State Department of Tourism says 13.9 million visitors came to South Dakota last year, generating $291 million in state and local tax dollars, an increase of $12 million.
They say the tourism industry sustained nearly 54,000 jobs in South Dakota.
Tourism Secretary Jim Hagen says, "It has been really fun to see over the last couple years how this industry has pul;led together. It's not east and west, north and south. We're one industry. And what's good for Sioux Falls is good for Rapid City. What's good for Yankton County is also good for Mellette County. I think a lot of walls have really disappeared, been broken down over the past number of years.
This year's Conference on Tourism drew 525 people from across South Dakota, including 125 new attendees.