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By Jody Heemstra, Dakota Radio Group

FORT PIERRE, S.D. (DRG News) — According to a new report released this week, South Dakota is one of only a handful of states whose business travel in 2022 is projected to be higher than it was in 2019 — but not by much.

The American Hotel & Lodging Association and Kalibri Labs business travel data for South Dakota shows:

  • $232,876,639 spent on business travel in 2019
  • Projected 2022 expenditure on business travel: $233,232,902
  • Difference between 2019 and 2022 projected: $356,262
  • Percent increase: 0.2%

Other states with a projected increase in 2022 over 2019 are:

  • Maine: 3.2%
  • Mississippi: 6.6%
  • Montana: 4.6%
  • Nevada: 16.7%

Overall, US hotel business travel revenue in 2022 is projected to be 23% below pre-pandemic levels, ending the year down more than $20 billion compared to 2019. This comes after hotels lost an estimated $108 billion in business travel revenue during 2020 and 2021 combined.

While leisure travel is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels this year, business travel— which includes corporate, group, government and other commercial categories— is the hotel industry’s largest source of revenue and will take significantly longer to recover.

The new report comes on the heels of a recent AHLA survey, which found 64% of employed Americans and 77% of business travelers agree that it’s more important than ever to bring back business travel. The survey also found that 80% of employed Americans and 86% of business travelers say face-to-face interactions are important for maximizing company success.

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