By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Spending related to traveling in Wyoming declined by 23% in 2020 compared to 2019 due to the pandemic, the Wyoming Office of Tourism recently concluded.
The office published its annual travel economic report this week, which totaled around 150 pages. The research was compiled by Oregon-based company Dean Runyon Associates.
Although travel spending in the state dropped by more than $90 billion in 2020 — from $3.96 billion in 2019 to $3.05 billion in 2020 — that 23% decline was actually smaller than the national average of a drop of 36%, the study said.
Meanwhile, payroll related to travel spending was down down by 9.3% in 2020, with $935 million coming in last year.
Along with the drop in payroll, Wyoming also saw a loss of 4,000 jobs in the travel industry, a decline of 12.1%. The largest number of job losses occurred within the accommodations and food services sector, which lost 2,900 travel-related jobs.
Taxes generated by travel spending dropped by by 21.4% compared to 2019. Local taxes declined by 21.8%, while state taxes were cut by 21%.
Overnight visitor volume declined 25.8%, going from 9.3 million trips to 6.9 million trips last year.
Taxable lodging sales for hotels, motels and short-term rentals declined by 25.1% last year, dipping below 2015 levels.
The largest loss occurred in gasoline, with $228 million being lost in 2020.
Campgrounds saw the least amount of travel decline, with a 15.8% dip last year.