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Wyoming Tourism Numbers Surge to Record Levels in 2015

February 5, 2016 Uncategorized No Comments
Wyoming’s tourism economy saw another year of tremendous growth in 2015. In a preliminary assessment released today by the Wyoming Office of Tourism (WOT), a record 10.5 million people visited the state in 2015, up from 10.1 million visitors in 2014 or 4.2 percent. Wyoming significantly outpaced the national average visitation growth rate of 2.4 percent.  This follows several years of consistently strong rises in visitation. Over the last decade, Wyoming’s tourism marketing has helped contribute to a 48 percent increase of visitation in the state.  
Travel spending in the state grew to just under $3.4 billion in 2015, an increase of $9 million over the previous year.  This visitor spending directly affects Wyoming’s economy by generating $175 million in local and state tax revenues, up 7.4 percent in 2015 compared to $163 million in 2014. Since 2005, tax revenues generated by the tourism and hospitality industry have grown by more than 86 percent
Additionally, travel-related jobs are showing growth with the creation of 690 new jobs in Wyoming last year. The state’s tourism industry supports just under 32,000 full and part-time jobs, an employment number that has risen 7.7 percent in the past 10 years, and represents 12 percent of the state’s total workforce.
“We knew that by adding Seattle to our target markets and deepening our presence in existing markets, our campaign was strategically focused to get more visitors to Wyoming,” the Wyoming Office of Tourism’s Executive Director, Diane Shober said.  “With the addition of the work being done by local lodging tax boards and many tourism related businesses, Wyoming was and continues to be well positioned for success,” Shober added. 
This year, WOT will evolve the state’s tourism strategy from a targeted group of key markets to a true national television advertising campaign. This new strategy will reach 25 percent of all American households nationwide while employing a more efficient media buy. The national television campaign will be supported with print, magazine and social media advertising and complemented with outdoor billboards and digital advertising in specific markets. 
“Our marketing efforts have been widely successful, and expanding our approach will connect with more potential visitors. By executing a very strategic, research-based program and layering broad national advertising with emphasis in key markets like Chicago, Seattle, Kansas City, Portland and Minneapolis, we will be able to generate even stronger results,” Shober said. “We are excited to release more details about WOT’s 2016 advertising and marketing plans during the ‘Wyoming Governor’s Conference on Hospitality and Tourism’ at the end of February,” Shober added.
The research, conducted as two separate reports by Dean Runyan & Associates and Strategic Marketing and Research, Inc., enable WOT to monitor and report on industry performance and marketing program success. Final reports will be made available later this spring.

Chamber Stakes Out Legislative Positions

February 5, 2016 Uncategorized No Comments
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The Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce Government & Community Affairs Committee has published its 2016 Legislative Budget Session Positions in advance of the Wyoming legislative session which begins on Monday, February 8 in Cheyenne. See a summary of the positions below.

  • We support Medicaid Expansion.
  • We support Governor Mead’s recommendation for $8 million in exception funding for the Wyoming Office of Tourism.
  • We support extending the sunset on the Film Industry Financial Incentive (FiFi) in the Wyoming Office of Tourism biennium budget.
  • We support the JAC recommendation for enhanced airline funding in Wyoming.
  • We support Wyoming Business Council Business Ready Communities Program at the Governor’s suggested levels.
  • We support SF 3 Permissive Preference for Veterans in Private Employment.
  • We support the JAC recommendation to provide $90 million of support to Wyoming’s Cities, Towns, and Counties. Additionally, we support the Governor’s request for an additional $15 million for a total of $105 million on the biennium.
  • We oppose HB 5 Prohibited Question on Job Applications.
 chamber 5 star

Sounds Of YNP On Podcasts

February 4, 2016 Uncategorized No Comments

YNPYellowstone National Park and the Acoustic Atlas at Montana State University Library announced today the launch of the Yellowstone Collection, a curated compilation of field recordings and a developing podcast series highlighting America’s first national park.

Through a cooperative project between the Acoustic Atlas and Yellowstone National Park, the growing audio collection aims to create new ways to experience the animals, landscapes, and people of the area, by offering a freely accessible online archive of natural sounds, interviews, and radio stories focused on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

“We could not be more excited to share the sounds of Yellowstone through our archive,” Kenning Arlitsch, Dean of the Montana State University Library, said. “Montana State University Library launched the Acoustic Atlas because there are relatively few natural sound collections at libraries, and even fewer focusing on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.”The Acoustic Atlas was founded in 2013 and includes recordings from throughout the Western United States. The Yellowstone collection builds on its mission to document the sounds of regional ecosystems.

In addition to expanding the natural sounds collection at MSU, the field recordings will be used as a foundation in creating sound-rich, podcast-style audio pieces that tell the stories of research and issues in Yellowstone National Park. The audio stories, which visitors and followers can listen to online, will highlight the rich, but changing, soundscapes of the area, chronicle some of the research taking place in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and spotlight key voices in the region. Project producer and Yellowstone National Park correspondent Jennifer Jerrett says, “It’s kind of like public radio for Yellowstone National Park. I hope these stories build perspective and advance our conversations about science and the complexities of preservation in Yellowstone.”Jerrett continues, “2016 marks the National Park Service Centennial, so it seems fitting to stop and listen—to really listen—and reflect on the meaning of parks and preservation in America. I’m proud to be working on such an extraordinary project.”

The project is supported in part by Montana State University, the Yellowstone Association, the Yellowstone Park Foundation, and by a generous grant through the Eyes on Yellowstone program. Eyes on Yellowstone is made possible by Canon U.S.A., Inc. This program represents the largest corporate donation for wildlife conservation in the park. Audio from the partnership can be accessed through both the Yellowstone National Park and Acoustic Atlas websites.

Dog Leash Compliance Needed on Putt-Putt

February 3, 2016 Uncategorized No Comments

A nice dog on a leash in the snow

 The Jackson Ranger District of the Bridger-Teton National Forest released a proposal in December of last year for improving management of recreation use during the winter months (December 1-April 30), particularly in the Cache Creek drainage. District staff are now reviewing public input and weighing options to address the issues. The goal for the proposal is to develop community based solutions that minimize the effects of growing recreation use by improving user responsibility, especially with respect to wildlife, water, and trail use interactions. With strong roots in both recreation and conservation, the Forest wants to be a dog friendly community that cares about wildlife, a healthy environment, and access to nature.

The proposal for winter use emphasizes an expanded educational effort with relatively small changes in regulations. This method is based on the premise that the most effective approach is peer-to-peer pressure that results in a change to social norms for acceptable behavior. The proposal also calls for more monitoring using four metrics which track whether or not there is an improvement in conditions on the ground. One of the metrics is the compliance with existing leash requirements in the Putt-putt and Game Creek areas adjacent to crucial winter wildlife habitat. Leash requirements in the Putt-putt and Game Creek areas have been in effect since 2005 with visible signage. … Continue Reading

Town and County Turn Focus To Landslide

February 3, 2016 Uncategorized No Comments

budge map

In August of this year the Special Purpose Excise Tax will expire, but Town and County officials want to reinstate it to help pay for the repair of the Budge Drive landslide.

The slide, which occurred in the spring of 2014, destroyed a home, destabilized the parking structure at the Hillside Building, and put the new Walgreens out of business.

While determining who is responsible for the slide has been a hot topic, officials are now looking to the public for support in fixing the problem.

To date the Town has spent about 3 million dollars in temporary stabilization efforts and in planning a permanent fix and Larry Pardee, Town of Jackson Public Works Director, says it will take about another 6 million to stop the slide. Pardee told officials that the slide is a public safety hazard noting the potential of severe damage to Broadway and the possibility of rupturing the water main that runs near the slide. He also said it was a quality of life issue for affected residents.

Town Councilman Don Frank said that this was a community wide issue.

Both the Town and County voted unanimously to draft language for an August ballot question.

Sparks Fly At Commission Meeting

February 3, 2016 Uncategorized No Comments

Teton County BW

 

County Commissioners heard an earful today as they sought to adopt changes to laws governing non-conforming properties in the county.

Attorney for the county Keith Gingery explained the basics of non-conformities, development that existed before new zoning rules were adopted.

But the existence of a report containing new information on the issue caused an uproar.

Attorney and former commissioner Hank Phibbs shouted at the commissioners accusing them of deliberating on information that was not earlier made available to the public. “This document, no one has seen it,” Phibbs said,” You haven’t seen it. You’re operating with no notice whatsoever, that is a fundamental violation of due process it is astounding that you’re doing it.” Phibbs then left the meeting.

Planner Alex Norton said that the new information was created to prepare for Tuesday’s meeting saying the language was, “not released to the public because the board has not given us any direction.” “It was staff preparation behind the scenes,” Norton said.

Ultimately, Phibbs returned to make comments and the commission decided to take no binding action at the moment, postponing a vote to a future meeting.

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