MOUNT RUSHMORE NATIONAL MONUMENT, S.D. (AP) — Gov. Kristi Noem on Monday told South Dakota’s tourism industry to gear up for a busy summer, as she expects an influx of visitors itching to travel after more than a year of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
During an event at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, where she is suing to hold another fireworks display this summer, the Republican said there are many signs that tourism — the state’s second-largest industry — will make a big rebound.
“The tourism industry is so important to our entire state,” Noem said, pointing to the tax revenue it brings in and the jobs it sustains.
Tourism spending dropped by 18% in 2020, but Noem said the state still welcomed ample visitors. She drew widespread attention — and criticism — for forgoing virus restrictions and hosting a fireworks display at Mount Rushmore that featured former President Donald Trump. She also welcomed people to the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, where