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July 10, 2020
South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore fireworks celebration netted the equivalent of $22 million in advertising value, according to what the state Tourism Department called a conservative estimate.
The number 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, the state said. Coverage of the event is still being tallied, and the advertising value 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 revenue 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,” Tourism Secretary Jim Hagen said in a statement.
“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 percent higher than the previous record, which was the Fourth of July holiday in 2005. The South Dakota Department of Tourism’s web traffic increased by 872 percent compared with July 3 and 4 of last year – the equivalent of $95,000 worth of paid promotion.
In total, after the security, transportation, pyrotechnics and other costs are calculated, the state expects to spend $1.5 million on the event. The cost of the fireworks display and other items will be paid for out of the Future Fund, and the other costs will be paid by the Department of Tourism.
This year’s Mount Rushmore fireworks drew in some big numbers as visitors searched for information about South Dakota.