Tourism better than expected
Published: Thursday, June 21st, 2012
With the increased traffic kicking off tourism season earlier than expected, many business owners in communities across the Southern Black Hills are unable to stop smiling.
“We had a bad season last year, but things are looking pretty good so far,” said John Fejfar, manager of five Custer hotels, including the Holiday Inn Express.
Fejfar said his reservations are up 25 percent from last year, but up only five percent from 2008, which was a great tourism year.
“I don’t want to get too optimistic since the season is just beginning, but I think we will have a great season,” Fejfar said.
Many other hotels and camping spots are up for reservations and bookings. Tod George, who owns Rafter J Bar Ranch Campground in Hill City, ended their off-season in May with a 125 percent improvement from the previous year.
“We started our season in June and it’s already better than last year,” George said. “Our reservations look phenomenal and we actually have had to turn away the larger campers due to full bookings.”
Paul LeClair from Fort Welikit in Custer and Vic Alexander, owner of Super 8 Motel, are also experiencing higher reservation rates.
“All of my businesses have seen a good season so far,” Alexander said. “Some are doing better than last year and others are better than the last three years.”
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