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Visit Casper seeing tourism reaching 2019 numbers

Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 5:15 PM CDT
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - The City of Casper has seen a fast recovery in tourism since 2020. With the pandemic changing the ideas of the American tourist...it’s made Casper a destination for many visitors.

“One of the reasons that tourism is so competitive, why we all compete for visitors is because when visitors spend money they also leave tax dollars. So on things that they buy here, whether it’s a hotel or a a restaurant there’s sales tax collected on that right, and then the sales tax goes to fund things of the county, things of the city, and things of the state,” said Brook Kaufman, the CEO of Visit Casper.

When visitors come to Casper, it reduces the tax burden for people who live here. In 2019, Casper collected over 16 million dollars in tourist money. This money goes on to fund a variety of things, including police officers, mowing city parks, plowing streets, and more.

“Tourism creates jobs. So in Natrona County, on average, 2600 people are employed part time or full time because we have visitors. So number one, it creates jobs which means earnings which means people can buy homes, they can buy cars, they can buy school supplies for their kids, all those things. So it kind of makes our economy go around,” said Kaufman.

Tourism is also a large reason why Casper is able to have 192 restaurants. Casper welcomed over a million visitors in 2019. Without the hotels and attractions tourism money helps fund, that wouldn’t be possible.

Last year, Visit Casper saw the hotel occupancy during the summer only range between 30 to 60 percent. This summer, however, hotels have been averaging in the 70′s consistently.

“Honestly what we’re seeing this year is super remarkable. So when we look at what’s going on in our market in 2021, it’s very close, we’re not that far off from 2019 which was a record year for tourism in Natrona County,” said Kaufman.

Visit Casper expects the rest of summer to follow this pattern.

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