South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore Fireworks Celebration on July 3 yielded a major return for the state.
This is according to a release by Katlyn Richter, public relations director S.D. Department of Tourism.
Using the most conservative estimates, the celebration carried an advertising value of more than $22 million thanks to the global media coverage of the event. This estimate is based on advertising value equivalency, an estimate that is likely low given that several broadcast programs covering the event experienced historically high ratings during their coverage. Coverage of the event is still being tallied and that number is expected to grow.
To date, the event has generated an estimated $2 million in direct visitor spending for the state, and spurred an estimated $160,000 in immediate tax revenues to state and local governments.
“Our goal with the fireworks celebration was to put a spotlight on the grandeur of Mount Rushmore National Memorial and position South Dakota front and center in the minds of potential visitors,” said Jim Hagen, Secretary of the Department of Tourism. “We couldn’t be happier about the tens of millions of viewers who tuned in to see the majesty of this national icon and our beautiful Black Hills. We’re confident this exposure will inspire those viewers to add the Great Faces and Great Places of South Dakota to their bucket list of vacation destinations, whether that be yet this year or in the years to come.”
Web traffic to South Dakota pages skyrocketed during the celebration. Google searches for “Mount Rushmore” reached their all-time high at a rate 1,250% higher than the previous record, which was the July 4th holiday in 2005. The South Dakota Department of Tourism’s web traffic increased by 872% compared to July 3-4 of last year. This is the equivalent of $95,000 worth of paid promotion.
In total, after all security, transportation, pyrotechnics, and other costs are calculated, the State of South Dakota expects to spend approximately $1.5 million on the event. The cost of the fireworks display and other items will be paid for with future funds, and the other costs will be paid by the Department of Tourism.