ROCK SPRINGS — Voters in Sweetwater County will be asked to make a choice November 6 on many different local, statewide and federal seats.
They’ll also be asked to decided whether to increase the local lodging tax by 1%. The lodging tax was originally approved back in 1991 at 3%, but voters can bump that up to 4% if they vote yes on the tax in the general election.
Wyoming municipalities that already collect a 4% lodging tax include Cheyenne, Casper, Laramie, Lander & Riverton, Kemmerer, and Torrington.
So you might be wondering where all that lodging tax goes. Here in Sweetwater County, more than 40 events are supported by the tax through the Sweetwater County Travel and Tourism Board.
The Tax You Don’t Pay For
Many of the events supported by the tax are widely popular and attended year after year by people from Sweetwater County and beyond.
Wyoming’s Big Show, Green River’s River Festival, Blues and Brews, the Red Desert Roundup Rodeo, and the Green River Little League State Baseball tournament are just a few of the events the tax helps support.
It also provides visitor services funding to the Rock Springs and Green River Visitor Centers and funds event recruitment, as well as out-of-county event marketing for the Sweetwater Events Complex.
Yet the tax does not cost you one red cent.
This tax is paid by visitors who stay overnight in local hotels, RV parks, and campgrounds. Local residents do not pay this tax unless they stay in local lodging establishments.
What is the Purpose of the Tax?
By state statute, the Sweetwater County Joint Travel and Tourism Board uses the funds to develop tourism and enhance the local economy by bringing visitors to the area that will stay in the local hotels, RV parks & campgrounds, eat at local restaurants and shop at local retailers.
To do so, the board:
- Deploys a fully integrated marketing campaign each year in the Salt Lake City and Denver markets, as well as online to generate visitation to Sweetwater County. www.tourwyoming.com.
- Provides funding to over 40 local events that draw out of county attendance.
- Provides funding to maintain the Rock Springs and Green River Visitor Centers.
- Provides funding for marketing and event recruitment efforts at the Sweetwater Events Complex.
- Works to recruit international tour groups, conventions and sporting events to the area.
What Local Events Receive Lodging Tax Funding?
1. Annual Bud Cup Hockey Tournament
2. Green River USA Swimming, Shiver in the River Swim Meet
3. Quilting on The Green
4. Muley Fanatics Southwest Chapter Banquet
5. Wind & Mud Hockey Tournament
6. Drop In Hockey Tournament
7. River Festival
8. Wyoming High School Finals Rodeo
9. Southwest Wyoming BMX State Tournament
10. USA West Square Dance Convention
11. Western WY/ATIXA Title IX Training
12. Butch Cassidy Invitational Ice Skating Event
13. Sweetwater County Junior High & High School Rodeos
14. Red Desert Classic Barrel Race
15. Race on The Rock Triathlon
16. Hairy Horse Show
17. Sweetwater Speedway Dirt Track Racing
18. Flaming Gorge Days
19. Blues N’ Brews
20. Art on The Green
21. Green River Knights Invitational Baseball Tournament
22. Red Desert Roundup Rodeo
23. Green River Little League Baseball State Tournament
24. Eden Valley Equine Summer Fun Series
25. Troy Jones Memorial Rodeo
26. The Rock Challenge Soccer Tournament
27. Flaming Gorge Classic Basketball Tournament
28. Thoman Invitational Wrestling Tournament
29. December Dunk Basketball Tournament
30. Co-ed Tough Turkey Volleyball Tournament
31. Wyoming State SHRM Conference
32. Green River Grapplers Wrestling Camp
33. Wyoming Airport Operators Association Conference
34. Cowboy State Games
35. Run the Red Trail Race
36. Sweetwater Classic AQHA & Open Show
37. HamCon Amateur Radio Convention
38. Overland Stage Stampede Rodeo
39. Mansface Mountain Music Festival
40. Wyoming’s BIG Show
41. National High School Finals Rodeo
What are the Benefits of the Travel Industry?
Working with area agencies and businesses, the Sweetwater County Travel and Tourism Board has helped develop and grow the county’s travel industry.
The impact of tourism in Sweetwater County is impressive. In 2017, travelers overall spent $157 million purchasing goods and services from local businesses, which in turn generated $8.9 million in local and state tax receipts and supported 1,480 jobs directly related to tourism in Sweetwater County alone.
How Does Our Tax Rate Stack Up?
According to state statute, a local option lodging tax can range from 2-4%.
Sweetwater County currently collects a 3% lodging tax and voters will be asked in November 2018 to reauthorize the existing 3% and increase it by 1%.
Other counties and cities which carry the 4% tax are Cody, Pinedale, and Sheridan.
For more information on the Sweetwater County lodging tax please, contact Sweetwater County Travel and Tourism at (307) 382-2538.