The post on social media went on to give some statistics. "In 2021, Wyoming welcomed 8.1 million overnight visitors who spent over $4.2 billion; a 38% increase from 2020. Visitor spending directly affected Wyoming's economy by generating $258 million in local and state tax revenues, which helps fund jobs and public programs."
Wyoming is the least populated state in the United States. Tourism dollars are a huge part of the equation in Wyoming's financial health. This seems to be even more prevalent as the coal, oil, and gas industry continue to take hits.
The impact of societal shutdown in 2020 appears to be significant. Since the social media post did not give any statistics for 2019, I went and did some research. I wanted to know the economic impact of the COVID restrictions as determined by the stats from 2019 (pre-COVID) to 2020 (onset of COVID restrictions), to 2021. Here is what I found according to the Executive Report for the Wyoming Office of Tourism.
"Across the state, 2020 was a challenging year for the travel industry. Overnight visitor volume fell from 9.2 million person trips in 2019 to 6.9 million person trips in 2020, a decline of 25.6%."
2019--9.2 million overnight visitors
2020--6.9 million overnight visitors
2021--8.1 million overnight visitors
"Total travel spending in the state declined 22.9% from $4.0 billion in 2019 to $3.1 billion in 2020."
2019--$4.0 billion in travel spending
2020--$3.1 billion in travel spending
2021--$4.2 billion in travel spending
"Taxes directly related to travel declined by 21.4% from approximately $203.2 million in 2019 to $159.8 million in 2020."
2019--$203.2 million in tax revenue
2020--$159.8 million in tax revenue
2021--$258.0 million in tax revenue
The statistics are quite interesting to review in the context of the ripple effect. For instance, "In 2020, every $1 million in travel-related spending resulted in 9.4 jobs for the industry." It is good to see the rebound that tourism made in the state from 2020 to 2021. Although 2021 still showed about a million less visitors than 2019, the amount of revenue bounced back enough to surpass the 2019 total.
Why do I share this information? Am I getting a kick-back from the Wyoming Office of Tourism? No, I am not. I share it to make you think about the ripple effect of everything we do in our day-to-day lives. Tourism is only one facet of the economy, but look at how many people are impacted because of it.
Now, let's make it personal. How many people do you personally impact on a day-to-day basis? What is the ripple effect?
Questions for reflection:
1. Did your interactions with others at work or school build people up?
2. How well did you treat the person at the restaurant waiting on your table?
3. Do you volunteer your time at church or a nonprofit agency to build others up?
4. Is someone else's life brighter because they encountered you?