Fremont County, WY - This past year Fremont County collected $634,000 from the lodging tax and gave 25 percent of that money back to the towns (Dubois, Lander, Riverton, Shoshoni and Hudson) to use for their own tourism development. The Chambers of Commerce oversee the use of the lodging tax funds that are given back to the towns, and re-invest them back into their communities through the Wind River Visitors Council's Tourism Asset Development, or TAD, program. These funds are often used for promoting local events through a grant process. In Riverton, lodging tax TAD funds have supported events and organizations like Rocky Mountain Rebels Car Club, Riverton Rendezvous, Central Wyoming’s Children’s Center for Art, Technology & Science, and more.
“The Tourism Asset Development (TAD) grant program that the Chamber administers for Riverton will fund 20 events with about $100,000 dollars in grant funds that came from the Lodging Tax collected in Riverton. Some of these events would not take place if it were not for this help they receive from this program,” said Jim Davis, Executive Director of Riverton’s Chamber of Commerce.
“In reality the Lodging Tax is a tax we don’t pay locally, but we benefit from it locally,” added Davis. Overnight visitors pay it the same as you or I do when we travel.
Those local benefits include events that draw visitors- and residents- each year such as the 1838 Mountain Man Rendezvous, the Wild West Winter Carnival and high school athletic events. Grant funds have also gone to clinics like the Walt Woodard Team roping clinic, or the Dena Kirkpatrick barrel racing clinic, as well the Wind River Heritage Center.
“The money helps those events happen, and keeps them in Riverton,” Davis said.
In the case of the baseball tournaments, it helps pay umpires- crucial to hosting tournaments, said Cody Beers, with the legion team. They, along with the fans, coaches and players, stay in Riverton and then often come back after learning about the casinos, nearby mountains and fishing.
“We have a lot of things people want to come back and see,” Beers said. “You get ‘em here, you entertain ‘em and you leave ‘em with a memory they want to duplicate.”
Beers knows the benefits go far beyond the events for which he’s involved. “The Lodging Tax money has been instrumental in promoting all kinds of youth-based activities in Riverton that bring hundreds and hundreds of people to Riverton all year,” Cody said.
And that brings millions of dollars to Fremont County. The other 75% of the lodging tax collections are used by the Wind River Visitors Council to market "Wind River Country" to the tourist. In 2013 those tourists spent $138 million in the county at our events, restaurants, motels, retail shops, casinos, museums, gas stations and grocery stores, plus tours and recreation.
And that’s great for Riverton.
Press Release distributed by the Wind River Visitors Council - Your Fremont County Lodging Tax Dollars at Work!
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