Tourism continues to be an economic powerhouse in Wyoming, as the numbers from 2021 show the state’s appeal and revenues are growing despite the pandemic.
The Wyoming Office of Tourism released its yearly Economic Impact of Travel report for 2021. This preliminary report analyzes the financial impact of tourism and how much was spent in each of the state’s “growth sectors.”
Wyoming’s travel economy saw increased visitor demand and travel spending in 2021. Preliminary estimates indicate spending recovery and growth when compared to 2019.
Tourism is estimated to be 3.7% of the state’s GDP, which meant $4 billion in travel, $243 million in revenue, and 8.1 million visitors in 2021.
In 2021, over $1 billion was spent in the lodging sector.
Accommodation was the largest growth sector in 2021. The combination of pent-up travel demand, higher room rates, and the new state lodging tax contributed to the 61.8% increase compared to 2020.
Hotel/Motel/S.T.V.R. (Short Term Vacation Rental) visitors spent $2.3 billion in 2021 – a 36% increase from 2020, and in total is more than these visitors spent in 2019.
Luckily, the pandemic didn’t stop the momentum of Wyoming tourism. Wyoming travel spending increased 31.2% from 2020 to 2021. But when compared to 2019, travel spending is up 1.7%
- Travel spending increased 31.2%, from $3.1 billion in 2020 to $4.0 billion.
- Direct employment experienced a gain of approximately 1,700 jobs across the state, a 6.0% increase over 2020.
- Tax receipts generated by travel spending are up 50.5% compared to 2020. Local and state taxes have increased 39.9% and 58.2%, respectively. State taxes include the new statewide lodging tax for 2021.
- Overnight visitor volume has increased from 6.9 million person trips to 8.1 million person trips. This represents an increase of 16.8%.
Also, 2021 was the first year Wyoming implemented the statewide lodging tax – and it made an enormous impact.
Overall, state and local taxes increased 50.5% in 2021. The statewide lodging tax alone contributed $30 million to the total $148 million state tax revenue generated by visitors.
All $30 million earned from the statewide lodging tax will go to the Wyoming Office of Tourism as it continues to “spread the word” and encourage more tourism. Previously, this money was allocated by the Wyoming Legislature from the state budget.
The full Economic Impact of Travel Report for 2021 is available online.