As our state’s second largest industry, tourism is an important sector of South Dakota’s economy, and with South Dakota’s internationally recognized sites, like Mount Rushmore, the state draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to the state each year.

Highlights of Sen. Thune’s Commitment to Promoting Tourism:

  • Brand USA:
    • As chairman of the Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over this program, Sen. Thune’s support for this program has translated into increased inbound international travel, stimulated new jobs, strengthened the economy, and did so at no cost to South Dakota taxpayers.
  • Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience (NATIVE) Act:
    • Sen. Thune’s NATIVE Act, which passed the Senate in 2016, would enhance and integrate native tourism, empower native communities and expand unique cultural tourism opportunities in the United States.
  • Without Pheasants, There’s No Pheasant Hunting:
    • As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Sen. Thune has leveraged his position to secure additional continuous sign-up Conservation Reserve Program acres for South Dakota to help facilitate adequate habitat to support hunting and hunting-related tourism.
  • Mickelson Trail Connecter:
    • Sen. Thune continues to work to expedite the creation of a connector trail from the George S. Mickelson trial to Mount Rushmore National Memorial in the Black Hills.
    • By creating more recreational opportunities around Mt. Rushmore, tourism in the area can continue to grow.
  • The Importance of Seasonal Work Visas (H-2B):
    • Seasonal work visas provide much of the workforce necessary for tourism and construction in South Dakota. By pushing back on the administration for backlogs and other delays, Sen. Thune works to ensure these employees continue to be part of the seasonal workforce.