‘Destination Wyoming’ Plan Calls for Competitive Industry Funding & Protecting Access to Public Lands
Cheyenne, Wyoming – Wyoming Treasurer Mark Gordon is calling for a renewed commitment to growing Wyoming’s tourism and outdoor recreation economies, pledging to fight for competitive funding, protect multiple use and access on public lands for sportsmen and anglers, ensure a skilled workforce and grow the state’s outdoor recreation economy.
“Tourism has long been one of the greatest pillars of Wyoming’s economy, supporting thousands of jobs and small businesses while providing critical local and state revenue,” said Gordon. “Our opportunities to expand and develop Wyoming tourism are as boundless as the mountains, trails and rivers we have to explore.”
Gordon released a plan today, Destination Wyoming, that includes several policy initiatives and priorities to grow Wyoming’s tourism industry. Second only to energy in driving Wyoming’s economy, tourism supports 32,000 jobs and generates approximately $186 million in local and state tax revenues annually.
“I learned to fish, hunt, climb, kayak, and pack here, and had the chance to do it all in some of the most glorious country anywhere, and we could often do it after stacking hay all day,” said Gordon.
“Wyoming’s next Governor must be a champion for tourism as a critical component in diversifying our economy for the long term, creating new job opportunities for the next generation and promoting our western heritage and legacy,” Gordon continued. “I love Wyoming and take every chance I can to tell others about coming here to meet our people, enjoy our hospitality, and take some time to settle into all that Wyoming has to offer.”
Building Out Wyoming’s Tourism & Outdoor Recreation Economy
Prioritizing Wyoming Tourism & Ensuring Competitive Funding
The hospitality, travel and tourism industry are among the most effective and successful advocates for their business in the state. However, to maximize opportunities for tourism across Wyoming, we must have leadership committed to making tourism a top priority and working with industry to develop a plan for sustainable funding into the future.
As Governor, I will be a relentless champion for the tourism industry. I will work with the legislature to ensure competitive funding on par or beyond our competing neighbors. For every dollar spent on advertising and promotion, $10.28 was returned in state and local taxes. And over $250 was returned in visitor spending. With visitation to Wyoming on the rise, investing in tourism is just smart business.
Protecting Access to Public Lands for Sportsmen & Anglers
Be it hunting, fishing, horseback riding, biking, hiking or camping, enjoying the outdoors is a cherished part of the Wyoming way of life, and a big draw for visitors. Nearly 75 percent of Wyoming residents participate in outdoor recreation every year. And the outdoor recreation economy in Wyoming supports approximately 50,000 jobs.
As a lifelong sportsman and hunter, maintaining and improving public access and multiple-use while protecting multiple use and private property rights are among my top priorities. I will work to keep public lands in public hands while fighting to ensure local stakeholders have a voice in land management. Wyoming cannot afford to lose out on the rapidly expanding outdoor recreation industry by losing important public access to our lands, waters and scenic vistas.
Ensuring a Skilled & Able Tourism Workforce
A skilled and able workforce is absolutely critical to the future of both hospitality and tourism here in Wyoming. The H-2B and J-1 visa programs are a critical piece of the puzzle. As Governor, I will work with our delegation to help ensure these program runs effectively and efficiently to meet seasonal worker needs.
We also need to better align our workforce training with industry needs. Wyoming’s community and technical colleges must be proactive and adaptive so we can quickly train workers for the jobs of today and tomorrow. The Wyoming Lodging & Restaurant Association’s ProStart Program, a two-year curriculum that prepares high school students for careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry, is a terrific example of how the private sector can successfully drive workforce training within the public system.
As Governor, I will work with industry and our community and technical colleges to better align programming with the needs of our tourism, recreation and hospitality industries.
Growing Wyoming’s Outdoor Recreation Economy
I’ve worked in tourism and outdoor recreation for many years and I know just how important this industry is to our state, and the enormous opportunities it provides us. Wyoming’s outdoor recreation economy generates approximately $5.6 billion in consumer spending and $1.6 billion in wages and salaries every year. What’s more, the industry contributes over $500 million in state and local tax revenue.
Still, there is plenty of room to grow. Outdoor recreation generates nearly $900 billion in consumer spending every year in the United States. Wyoming’s outdoor recreation economy accounts for only a little over half of one percent, and we continue to trail many of our neighboring states. With so much to offer in summer, fall, winter and spring, Wyoming is poised to take a much bigger piece of this nearly trillion-dollar pie.
As Governor, I will work to grow Wyoming’s outdoor recreation economy by driving new and innovative ways to connect Wyoming communities, vacation destinations and points of interest – be it via land, water, air or digital. Every single Wyoming community offers something special to visitors and it’s our job to showcase these destinations to the world and make them accessible.