RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — Tourist attractions in western South Dakota that appeared in the Academy Award-winning film “Nomadland” are seeing an increase in visitors credited to the film’s success.
Reptile Gardens and Wall Drug Store are both reporting an early bump in tourist traffic, the Rapid City Journal reported Saturday. Both were in “Nomadland,” which won best picture, best director and best actress Academy Awards.
The movie follows Fern, who after her husband dies of cancer, embarks on a road trip that highlights Badlands National Park, Wall Drug and the hands of Reptile Gardens’ curator Terry Phillips.
Wall Drug Store chairman Rick Hustead said the store has seen a 114% increase in sales over 2019 while year-to-date for 2020 showed a 92% increase.
“If it was up 10% we’d be happy, but these are extraordinary numbers,” he said. “I think we’re going into a huge season.”
Hustead said the family was approached in 2018 for the movie.
“It was amazing,” he said.
Reptile Gardens curator Terry Phillip said he spent an entire day filming with the crew. He believes the film will boost tourism for the whole state.
“You can’t go wrong with that in any way, shape or form,” he said.
The state tourism department is also anticipating a large amount of tourists to the state with the film’s awards.
“Overall, what you’ll find is we certainly noticed that film drives a great amount of inspiration for consumers,” said Katlyn Svendsen, global media and public relations director for the department.