The Wind River Visitors Council (WRVC) and the entire nation take a week each year to celebrate travel. Though the act of travel is currently—and rightfully—on hold, the spirit of travel is not dampened. The week of May 3–9, the WRVC will celebrate examples of that right here in Fremont County/Wind River Country as part of National Travel and Tourism Week.
“To us, the spirit of travel is the connections we make with the world by being a destination. Travelers have wonderful experiences of all kinds in Wind River Country, and our local residents, businesses, organizations, and agencies are the reason that visitors find the real Wyoming experience in Wind River Country. This week, we’re celebrating you,” said WRVC Marketing Director Paula McCormick. The WRVC is the entity responsible, through the lodging tax, to promote tourism in Fremont County.
Even as we ask travelers to visit us later, we know the people who make Wind River Country so special continue to show the resiliency of the tourism industry. Whether its sharing interesting facts on Facebook about the wildlife of a state park, encouraging our communities to be socially distant together, providing workspaces in lodging properties, providing virtual “armchair travel” experiences, making masks for healthcare providers, or hosting online yoga classes and virtual trail running races, our community continues to connect with the world while building each other up. That spirit can’t be broken.
“Now, more than ever, it is important to recognize the contributions of Wyoming’s tourism industry and continue to advocate its vitality to the state. We are resilient; there is no doubt our industry will revive and come back stronger than ever,” stated Diane Shober, Wyoming Office of Tourism Director last week.
A return to travel will come, and the immediate economic impact will be vital. In 2019, visitors to Fremont County spent $139.8 million, supporting businesses all across the county and directly employing 1,450 people. Not only does the travel economy keep business doors open and people employed, last year’s 3.1-percent increase in state and local tax receipts saved Fremont County households almost $450 in state and local taxes.
“When appropriate, we will promote Wind River Country as a safe, clean, uncrowded place to make vacation plans. We are adjusting our budget and marketing strategy for the post-COVID-19 economy. We want to be ready for the long-term wellbeing of our towns, tribes, and businesses,” the WRVC wrote in an April 10 letter to the community.
Take time during National Travel and Tourism Week to applaud the people in your community who embody the spirit of travel. Thank them, spend some money with them, and join the WRVC in advocating for responsible travel when the time is right.