Slow to start, tourist season picks up
Published: Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013
After a stellar beginning to the 2012 tourism season, many Custer business owners weren’t sure what to expect for the 2013 season.
“It started slow and picked up in the middle of June,” said Dave Ressler, Custer Area Chamber of Commerce executive director. “The traffic is definitely picking up now.”
Many have attributed the slower start to the late snowfall in April and the cooler, wet weather in May.
“What we’re seeing now is what we saw in May last year,” said Max Hammer, owner of Beaver Lake Campground. “We’re down a bit from this time last year, but the 2012 season started so early.”
Last year’s numbers took a hit once a fire ban was put into effect last year, around July 4.
“The fire ban hurt us terribly last year,” Hammer said. “The snow and rain has kind of hurt us this year, but I’m hopeful it will improve.”
Camping in Custer State Park was up 10 percent in May while traffic in the park is up 11 percent. Park officials are also seeing high traffic rates for the month of June.
“We’re running where we hoped we would be at and we’re doing well,” said Craig Pugsley, visitor services coordinator with Custer State Park. “We had a record season last year at the park and we hope we’re in the same area or even ahead.”
The Rocket Motel has seen and will continue to see a packed house. On Friday, owner Don Herren said the motel was on its 10th straight day at full capacity.
“I’ve had bike tours from Sweden, Switzerland and Germany stay,” he said. “Reservations have been nuts!”
“We’ve been steady all month and have had a really good summer so far,” said Dulcie Davenport, manager of the Super 8 Motel. “We’re about the same as we were last year, but it’s been going pretty well.”
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