As others see it: Hang in there, South Dakota!
We are staunch believers in all things South Dakota, and especially this state's beauty, recreation opportunities and unique attractions.
So as we continue to hear that visitation numbers are down this year at attractions that matter to Mitchell-area residents, we are disappointed, but chalk it up to things we cannot help, such as high gas prices, flooding and extreme weather.
Early this week, a report in The Daily Republic noted that visitation at the Corn Palace is down about 13 percent from this time last year. The number of visitors rose 11.2 percent from 2008 to 2009 and gained slightly, at 1.4 percent, from 2009 to 2010. Through the first few months of this tourist season, numbers are down about 26,000.
The Associated Press reported that the number of attendees at the annual Sturgis motorcycle rally was down, too. Although official numbers have not yet been released, the AP's announcement confirms anecdotal reports we have heard in the days since the Sturgis rally began.
The venerable Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo saw a decrease in guests this year, too. Although the rodeo always is during the warmest days of the summer, this summer's rodeo-week heat was oppressive, hot and humid. ...
No doubt, South Dakota could use the influx of tourism money right now. Those additional sales tax dollars would come in handy.
But we're confident things will turn around and definitely we're not yet ready to panic.