Wyoming tourism director is anticipating a good summer

By Bob Moen

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, May 5 2012 10:56 p.m. MDT

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Despite high gasoline prices, Wyoming is expected to have a strong tourist season this summer, state tourism director Diane Shober said.

"All the indications right now look very good, and I think that's even in light of where we've been with gas prices and they seem to be stabilizing and even in some cases dropping," Shober said.

"I've been doing this for nine years, and every year at this time we discuss gas prices and what impact it may have on the consumers' ability to travel, and fortunately while we see some changes in how people modify their behaviors while traveling, the good news is we still know that the American public still gets out and travels."

Tourism is Wyoming's second largest industry, generating about $2.8 billion and nearly 30,000 jobs last year.

"I would estimate that this year we will see the same level of approximately 30,000 jobs that will be supported by the travel industry," Shober said Wednesday.

"Out of all jobs in Wyoming, about 10 percent are supported through the tourism industry."

In order to sustain and grow the industry, the state spends millions of dollars a year promoting itself as a destination for travelers.

This year, Wyoming is spending about $7 million on advertising campaigns in places such as Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Oklahoma City, Denver and Salt Lake City.

The advertising campaign includes TV, magazines, radio and social media.

Shober said Wyoming isn't advertising this year in any new markets but is increasing the frequency of its television and other ads in markets that it has targeted in the past.

"That certainly helps in deepening that visibility of the Wyoming message," she said.

A typical visitor to Wyoming is someone who enjoys national parks, mountains and other outdoor recreation.

"They may be a very active adventure traveler or they may be a more passive adventure traveler," Shober said.

"It certainly wouldn't be somebody who would enjoy a beach vacation or is looking for what a city environment would offer."

While the state's tourism industry hasn't completely recovered to pre-recession levels in terms of visitor spending, tax collections and jobs, Shober said last year's season came close to closing the gap.

Her office is seeing increasing numbers of people inquiring about a vacation in Wyoming this year.

"The indications are that things will be good this summer," she said.

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