Wyoming: 23%, Almost $1 Billion Decline in Tourism in 2020

Wyoming: 23%, Almost $1 Billion Decline in Tourism in 2020

Written by on April 29, 2021

Travel and tourism took a hard hit from COVID-19, but the Wyoming Office of Tourism can rest easy – in the Equality State, it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been.

The Wyoming Department of Tourism released its Economic Impact of Travel report for 2020. Oregon-based company Dean Runyon Associates compiled the research.

As expected, the report is dominated by the impacts of COVID-19. Travel and tourism were the industries that took the biggest hits of the pandemic, measured in hundreds of billions of dollars.

Nationally, travel was a trillion-dollar industry in 2020. Due to the pandemic, total travel output decreased by 36%, and spending by resident and foreign visitors amounted to $723 billion.

Wyoming felt the string – but not quite as powerfully. The report shows the state’s revenues were actually higher than national averages.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused global economic hardship. Unlike the last global economic event (2009), the negative effects heavily weigh on the travel industry. U.S. travel spending declined an estimated 36% in 2020. The Wyoming travel industry has faired better than most, experiencing an estimated decline of 23% in travel spending.

Statistics show that tourism-related spending in Wyoming declined by almost a billion dollars between 2019 and 2020, costing Wyomingites jobs and revenue.

  • Travel Spending declined 22.9% from $3.96 billion in 2019 to $3.05 billion.
  • Direct employment experienced a loss of approximately 4,000 jobs across the state. This represents a 12.1% decline in travel employment.
  • The largest amount of job losses occurred within the accommodations and food services sector, which lost 2,900 travel-generated jobs.
  • Tax receipts generated by travel spending are down 21.4% compared to 2019. Local and state taxes declined 21.8% and 21.0%, respectively.
  • Overnight visitor volume has decreased from 9.3 million person trips to 6.9 million person trips – a decline of 25.8%.

According to the Wyoming Office of Tourism, the numbers presented in the report are preliminary. The department may revise the figures and numbers as more data is collected.

Tourism fared better in our state than in the rest of the country. While the U.S. travel industry contracted 36% in 2020, Wyoming’s travel economy declined only 23%.

After reviewing state and national trends, the report breaks down results for each of Wyoming’s 23 counties.

Park County’s numbers and revenues were down across the board, but not catastrophically. The average loss of visitor spending was between 25-35%

Hotels and motels suffered the worst in 2020. Visitor spending on accommodations was down 38% overall, with hotel and motel spending down nearly 43% on its own.

  • Accommodations: $54.6 million, down 38.1%
  • Food Service: $65.5 million, down 30.7%
  • Food Stores:  $31.4 million, down 23.2%
  • Local Transportation & Gas:  $35.1 million, down 35.2%
  • Arts, Entertainment & Reccreation: $64.0 million, down 31.3%
  • Retail Sales:  $52.7 million, down 29.8%
  • Visitor Air Transporation: $1.7 million, down 37.1%

And the good news?

Despite immense revenue drops and job losses in 2020, nobody expects this trend to persist. Travel and tourism are expected to return to their pre-pandemic numbers, if not in 2021, then in years soon after.


[There are no radio stations in the database]