Sweetwater County Travel and Tourism Celebrates a Successful 2023

Sweetwater County Travel and Tourism Celebrates a Successful 2023

Passengers on a Flaming Gorge Bus Tour pose for a selfie. Courtesy photo.

SWEETWATER COUNTY – The Sweetwater County Joint Travel and Tourism Board celebrated a successful 2023 and gears up to improve the Flaming Gorge Scenic Byway.

The lodging tax has been in existence since 1991. The tax is 4% charged with any hotel room or Airbnb-style lodging reserved by a visitor. The tax brought in approximately $1.2 million during the last two fiscal years.

“Local residents really understand the value of that lodging tax,” Jenissa Meredith, CEO of the Sweetwater County Travel and Tourism, said.

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About 77% of the organization’s budget is spent on the tourism marketing plan. 

According to the annual report, the organization’s advertising has influenced $67 million in visitor spending and influenced more than 51,289 visits. An average of three people were in travel parties that visited in the county, with those groups spending an average of 3.3 days. Studies conducted for the organization revealed that the average amount spent in Sweetwater County is $1,309, with the organization having a $490 return on investment per each dollar spent on advertising. 

The top travel reasons reported to Sweetwater County Travel and Tourism involved wildlife viewing, self-guided driving tours and outdoor activities such as fishing, hunting, and hiking. Sweetwater County also remains a popular place for people to stop on trips to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. The Flaming Gorge National Recreation area also remains a popular reason to visit the county, with it being ranked sixth amongst the top reasons visitors come to the area.

Other uses of its budget include event grants, which are paid to groups hosting events as a means to help them promote those events. Block grants to the Rock springs and Green River chambers of commerce, as well as the Sweetwater County Events Complex, are paid to help the chambers function as visitors centers and help the events complex with events it hosts. Additionally, 9% of its budget is used for administrative costs.

The organization continues to promote the Killpecker Sand Dunes as a place to go sandboarding. Also, the organization brought the 2023 and 2024 3A and 4A Wyoming State Soccer Championships to the county, which Meredith said has an economic impact of $6 million to the area during those two years. The organization has also been aiding Rock Springs in freshening up its wayfinding signage. 

Meredith said the travel and tourism board plans to initiate a study to determine the need for an indoor sports complex and develop more turnouts for the Flaming Gorge Scenic Byway as the Wyoming side of the route is underdeveloped. The scenic byway was named an All American Road in 2021, as part of the National Scenic Byway Program. Meredith said the designation opens the route up to grant funding that can enhance the Wyoming side of that route.

The travel and tourism board is a joint powers board made up of representation from Rock Springs, Green River, Wamsutter, and Superior, with one member appointed by the Sweetwater County commissioners.