Wyoming Tourism "Better Than Expected In A COVID World"

Jun 18, 2020

Credit Jacob W. Frank / NPS

Tourism is the second largest industry in the state and has been hit hard by COVID-19. Wyoming Office of Tourism's Diane Shober said the tourism outlook for this summer was grim when COVID-19 first hit.

"We're face first in the gutter right now. We don't have anything. So that's where we were to start," she said.

But as the state started to reopen, Shober said that people, especially roadtrippers, are making their way out to Wyoming.

"We're in a much better place than we thought we would be even 30 days ago, but we still have a long way to go to get back to what we would call normal," said Shober.

She said tourism is "better than expected in a COVID world but that the economics aren't showing any real increase."

"Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park...even through the first 10 days of June, were at maybe 57 to 60 percent [visitation rate] of where they were a year ago," she said.

Shober said analysts are showing that, while air travel has significantly declined during the pandemic, road trips are consistently the number one choice of travel. She said Wyoming is a perfect state for road trips and hopes that tourists still roll through during the summer.

She said tourists and Wyomingites need to practice social distancing while traveling so the state or individual counties don't need to shut down, which would hurt the economy even more.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Kamila Kudeska, at kkudelsk@uwyo.edu.