Wyoming’s tourism economy saw another year of tremendous growth in 2015. In a preliminary assessment released today by the Wyoming Office of Tourism (WOT), a record 10.5 million people visited the state in 2015, up from 10.1 million visitors in 2014 or 4.2 percent. Wyoming significantly outpaced the national average visitation growth rate of 2.4 percent. This follows several years of consistently strong rises in visitation. Over the last decade, Wyoming’s tourism marketing has helped contribute to a 48 percent increase of visitation in the state.
Travel spending in the state grew to just under $3.4 billion in 2015, an increase of $9 million over the previous year. This visitor spending directly affects Wyoming’s economy by generating $175 million in local and state tax revenues, up 7.4 percent in 2015 compared to $163 million in 2014. Since 2005, tax revenues generated by the tourism and hospitality industry have grown by more than 86 percent
Additionally, travel-related jobs are showing growth with the creation of 690 new jobs in Wyoming last year. The state’s tourism industry supports just under 32,000 full and part-time jobs, an employment number that has risen 7.7 percent in the past 10 years, and represents 12 percent of the state’s total workforce.
“We knew that by adding Seattle to our target markets and deepening our presence in existing markets, our campaign was strategically focused to get more visitors to Wyoming,” the Wyoming Office of Tourism’s Executive Director, Diane Shober said. “With the addition of the work being done by local lodging tax boards and many tourism related businesses, Wyoming was and continues to be well positioned for success,” Shober added.
This year, WOT will evolve the state’s tourism strategy from a targeted group of key markets to a true national television advertising campaign. This new strategy will reach 25 percent of all American households nationwide while employing a more efficient media buy. The national television campaign will be supported with print, magazine and social media advertising and complemented with outdoor billboards and digital advertising in specific markets.
“Our marketing efforts have been widely successful, and expanding our approach will connect with more potential visitors. By executing a very strategic, research-based program and layering broad national advertising with emphasis in key markets like Chicago, Seattle, Kansas City, Portland and Minneapolis, we will be able to generate even stronger results,” Shober said. “We are excited to release more details about WOT’s 2016 advertising and marketing plans during the ‘Wyoming Governor’s Conference on Hospitality and Tourism’ at the end of February,” Shober added.
The research, conducted as two separate reports by Dean Runyan & Associates and Strategic Marketing and Research, Inc., enable WOT to monitor and report on industry performance and marketing program success. Final reports will be made available later this spring.