Tourism season is off to a great start

Downtown Rapid City
Downtown Rapid City(Aleah Burggraff)
Published: Jun. 2, 2021 at 5:45 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The summer’s first holiday weekend ended with a positive impact on the local tourism industry.

The weather is nice, store doors are open, and around the City of Presidents, people are out and about enjoying the beginning stages of what looks to be a busy summer.

Memorial Day Weekend marks the unofficial start to the tourism season and the CEO of Visit Rapid City, Julie Schmitz Jensen, said the turnout for the holiday weekend went well.

“The visitors that came to our area were so ready to get out of their homes and to explore the outdoors,” said Jensen and pointed out that that visitor inquiries are up about 150% this year.

“This is going to be a good year. Everybody is optimistic about 2021,” said Jensen, “but then people come out and do the Black Hills in general. They do the Mount Rushmore, obviously, Devil’s Tower, Badlands National Park.”

Mount Rushmore also felt the positive impact of the holiday weekend.

“We had a great Memorial Day Weekend,” said Blaine Kortemeyer, the Active Chief of Interpretation. “Usually, we don’t pick up to what we call summer busy until, typically, the first full week of June.”

Kortemeyer said he expects the national monument to remain busy throughout the summer. This includes on Independence Day without a fireworks display.

“We will busy just like any Independence Day that you would have Mount Rushmore is expected to be,” said Kortemeyer.

Jensen and Kortemeyer share one word of advice for both locals and visitors: patience.

“Be patient on the roadways. Work on your defensive driving skills just because many people don’t know the hills that well. So, just be patient,” said Kortemeyer.

“I can only say everybody that lives in Rapid City needs to be patient with visitors, needs to be kind to visitors, because this is a huge part of our economy,” said Jensen.

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