Wyoming is facing challenging times with the slowdown in energy production, but one industry is rising to the challenge in Fremont County: tourism. The travel and hospitality industry is the second-largest industry in the Cowboy State and will be increasingly important in coming years. The Wyoming Office of Tourism released its study of tourism’s impact on the state’s economy last week, in preparation for National Tourism Week. Both travel spending and travel-generated employment in the state have grown steadily in the past 15 years, and in 2015 visitors spent $3.3 billion, generating $170 million in state and local taxes. Fremont County’s 2015 numbers are particularly encouraging. Despite a significant drop in gas prices last year, Fremont County/Wind River Country
was one of five Wyoming counties that saw positive
growth in travel spending; the county also saw the third highest growth
behind tourism-heavy Park and Teton counties.
Fremont County brought a total of $140.5 million in travel spending in
2015, up from eighth to seventh in the state and up from $139 million in
2014. The impact of this increasingly strong—and increasingly
important—aspect of Fremont County revenue is extensive:
- 1,500 jobs in Fremont County
- $44.5 million in wage earnings in Fremont County
- $6.3 million in local and state tax receipts
- Each Wyoming household would pay $730 more in taxes without the tax
revenue generated by the tourism industry
“Visitors traveling to and throughout Wyoming represent an important
component of the state's economy,” the Wyoming Office of Tourism’s report
states. That will only become more important in 2016, and Wind River
Country is primed for the opportunity to offset lean years in other aspects
of the budget.
*About the Wind River Visitors Council - **The Wind River Visitors
Council’s mission is to stimulate tourism by increasing awareness of, and
encouraging visitation to, the unique destinations, activities and events
in Fremont County/Wind River Country, Wyoming. The Wind River Visitors
Council (WRVC) is a Lodging Tax Board responsible for promoting the travel
and tourism industry in Wind River Country through expenditures of the
Lodging Tax. WRVC Board members represent our communities and the county
and are appointed by local City Councils and the Fremont County
Commissioners. Learn more at windriver.org .*
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