CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Visually and mobility-impaired skiers from across the globe are in Casper this week for Ski for Light International Week. It’s one of many events Visit Casper helped organize to bring tourists into Central Wyoming.
Ski for Light International Week participants in the Ramkota Hotel lobby in Casper, Wyo. on Monday, Jan. 10, 2020.
Visit Casper CEO Brook Kaufman said tourism has a major impact on the local economy.
She said it employs more than 2,600 people in Natrona County.
“If we didn’t have that visitor economy, think of the people that wouldn’t have the jobs that they have,” Kaufman said.
She said jobs aren't the only thing tourism dollars bring into the community. The industry generates more than $14 million in Natrona County sales tax revenue.
Kaufman said she and her staff actively market Casper. They advertise through print and digital mediums but also go to tourism conventions and meet with event planners one-on-one.
She said staff go to about 10 to 15 trade shows annually.
The key though, is getting organizers to Casper. Once they see the city, they’re likely to host their event in Casper.
“We really help them see their business is really important to our community and nine times out of 10 that’s what brings their business to our community,” Kaufman said.
Local hotels also rely on this business to survive.
“The marketing budget that we would have to have in order to bring groups to Casper without the assistance of Visit Casper is phenomenal… to be honest with you, I think a group hotel in Casper could not flourish if Visit Casper didn’t exist,” Casper Ramkota Hotel General Manager Renee Penton-Jones said.
In addition to Ski for Light International Week, Casper is hosting International Roundup, a tourism trade show in April, and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association “Fly-In” in June partly because of Visit Casper's hard work.