Wyoming tourism industry enjoys record year

Cheyenne, WY (KGWN) - Wyoming's tourism industry had a banner year in 2012, setting new benchmarks in tax revenue and number of visitors.

A new report prepared for the state tourism office shows local and state tax revenues generated by travel in Wyoming were up 7.6% over 2011 with $128 million.

That surpasses 2011's record of $119 million.

In addition the number of visitors to the Cowboy State grew by 4%, from 8.34 million in 2011 to 8.67 million in 2012.

The report prepared by Dean Runyan Associates indicates the travel spending in Wyoming surpassed the previous record of $2.9 billion in 2008, climbing to $3.1 billion in 2012.

"Wyoming has so much to offer visitors," said Governor Matt Mead. "I'm proud of the people in the state who show travelers our western hospitality."

"I believe we can build on the successes of 2012 and have an even better year in 2013," said Mead.

Diane Shober, Director of the Wyoming Office of Tourism says the numbers are reassuring.

"The fact that the number of visitors is up along with visitor spending has a very positive impact on the economy," said Shober.

"It is a strong indication that our well placed marketing efforts are working," Shober said.

Destination spending was up 7.6% in 2012 with visitors spending more money in lodging and amenities, entertainment and food services.

"The dollars spent by visitors have strengthened Wyoming's economy by creating jobs, supporting local businesses from gas stations to retail stores and generating tax revenues to support our state," Shober explained.

"Visitors come for our friendly people, our wide open vistas, abundant wildlife and to experience our rich western heritage," explained Shober.

The state tourism office will continue to target major markets like Chicago, Minneapolis, Portland, Denver, Kansas City and Salt Lake this spring through a series of print, TV and out of home or billboard ads.

"We have a comprehensive public relations, social media and advertising plan laid out and we're going to see a really strong national advertising campaign beginning in March," said Shober. I'm looking forward to driving another successful season in 2013."

Tourism representatives will gather February 10-12 at Little America in Cheyenne for the 2013 Wyoming Governor's Hospitality & Tourism Conference.

The purpose of the conference is to review trends, explore marketing opportunities and provide destinations and businesses with the knowledge and tools to market themselves.

The full 2102 Wyoming tourism report can be found at www.wyomingofficeoftourism.gov

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