Frequently Asked Questions
About Visit Casper
We hear a lot that the Casper Area is not a tourism destination. We don’t have beaches, Disneyland, or an iconic landmark in our backyard. So why would someone visit Casper? Is tourism really a “thing” here?
For the last several years, (minus 2020 of course), our community has welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. In 2021, we welcomed 746,310 in overnight visitors who spent 349.6 million, up 12.7% from 2021. That 349.6 million in direct visitor spending powered 2,810 full and part-time jobs, (right here at home!), and $99 million in earnings. Tourist spending also contributed $16.8 million in state and local taxes. Each household in Natrona County would have to write a check for $510 to make up the $16.8 million in taxes collected from tourists while they’re here. The cool part is, people visit for several reasons including seeing friends and family, youth sports events and tournaments, meetings and conventions, shopping, traveling to a national park, hunting and fishing, sight-seeing, and more.
What is the Lodging Tax:
The 2% Natrona County lodging tax is paid by visitors who stay overnight in our hotels, campgrounds, bed & breakfasts, and Airbnbs. Very few local residents pay the Natrona County lodging tax; only those who stay overnight in one of our lodging establishments do so. In essence, the lodging tax is like a user fee. Travelers use Visit Casper’s website, visitor center, brochures, etc. and are pay for these services through the lodging tax.
How are the funds used?
Visit Casper is Natrona County’s tourism organization and uses the lodging tax funds to bring conventions, sporting events, fishing and other outdoor enthusiasts, and leisure travelers to Natrona County. In addition to aggressively marketing the area regionally and nationally, Visit Casper supports non-profit events and organizations that drive tourism through such events as the 5150 Festival. The organization funds the visitor center inside the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center and runs a world-class front-line hospitality training program. Most recently, we developed new promotions and partnerships to help our local businesses and neighbors survive through the pandemic. View our 2022 - 2023 Budget.
Why do we need the Natrona County lodging tax?
We need to compete for tourists. Cities throughout Wyoming, neighboring states, and the country as a whole use similar lodging taxes and are promoting themselves aggressively. Without the lodging tax, we would have no unified effort to promote Natrona County to compete for these tourist dollars.
What are the benefits of the travel economy?
Travel spending in Natrona County supports 2,810 jobs for our friends and neighbors.
How many people work in the tourism industry in Natrona County?
Tourism puts nearly 2,810 people to work in Natrona County every single day. It’s been a steady employment sector for the last several decades and helps offset losses when the energy industry is down.
Visitors also pay sales and gas taxes that support our schools, roads, and other services. Travelers pay 7.5% of our local sales taxes. Each household in Natrona County would have to write a check for $510 to make up the $16.8 million in taxes collected from our visitors. (Source: Dean Runyan Associates and Wyoming Office of Tourism)
Why do we need to promote the Casper Area? Won’t visitors come anyway?
Tourism is a competitive business. Countries, states, and cities across the globe spend hundreds of millions of dollars to lure visitors to their area because visitors leave what’s called “new” money behind. These are dollars that don’t recirculate from residents. If we don’t market our community, it’s likely visitors would choose somewhere else. Fewer visitors mean fewer jobs, reduced profits for local business owners and fewer tax dollars collected which impacts our quality of life.
Where do our visitors come from?
Our top markets for visitation are Denver, Salt Lake City, Rapid City and Billings. Depending on the time of year, 65-75% of our visitors are from out of state. We also see many of our Wyoming neighbors who come to shop, dine, stay, and play.
Tourism doesn’t affect me or my business. Why should I care?
Tourism touches every person who lives in Natrona County. For example, people who work in the industry then spend their earnings on mortgages, school clothes, the grocery store, etc. Which means the bank, the retailer, and the grocer are all able to pay their employees, too. Service firms, like accounting, attorneys and marketing agencies all benefit from businesses in the hospitality industry that pay for their services. It could be something as simple as your neighbor has a job in the industry. Or, the taxes that are paid by visitor's fund streets, parks, police, fire, etc. There is a true trickle-down effect in the tourism industry which benefits all of us. To learn more, sign up for one of our Tourism Ambassador classes today - Certified Tourism Ambassador > Home (ctanetwork.com)
2% LODGING TAX: This tax is paid by visitors staying in hotels, motels, campgrounds, and similar establishments providing temporary quarters or space for transient guests. Unless staying in these establishments, residents of Natrona County do not pay this tax. School groups and other tax-exempt entities do not pay this tax. Shall the Board of County Commissioners of Natrona County, State of Wyoming be
authorized to continue this lodging tax?"