By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming’s tourism declined by 25% last year, but the decline was minor compared to the national decline of 45%.
“Overall the U.S. travel economy declined nearly 45%, whereas, Wyoming’s travel economy only declined 25%,” Travel Wyoming spokeswoman Piper Singer told Cowboy State Daily.
The numbers are preliminary and could change before late April, which is when all of the data is gathered and published in the department’s annual report, Singer added.
Wyoming, along with the rest of the nation, took a major hit in numerous industries, including tourism, last year due to the coronavirus. However, not all the news was bad once the first wave of the virus passed around mid-May.
Despite the pandemic shutting down the park for for nearly two months, Yellowstone National Park only saw a 5% dip in visits in 2020. The park, in its most recent visitation report, said it hosted 3.8 million recreation visits in 2020, down from the 4 million hosted in 2019.
The park saw record visitation numbers for the months of September and October, with visitor numbers in October topping 2019 figures by 110%.
Grand Teton National Park also saw record-breaking numbers throughout the fall, as did Devils Tower.
Through November, Devils Tower recorded 420,330 recreation visits for 2020, down just 7% from the same period in 2019 despite the fact the country’s first national monument was closed from March 25 through May 21 due to health and safety concerns related to the pandemic.
According to Dean Runyan Associates’ numbers provided by Singer, the state saw $2.96 billion in travel spending last year, down 25.3% compared to 2019.
Wyoming saw $286 million in state and local tax revenue from tourism, a 16.1% decline, 7.3 million overnight visitors (down by 21.5%) and 27,000 travel-related jobs in 2020.