Why you should go to Wyoming!




(Image courtesy of Wyoming Office of Tourism)



Wyoming is one of those places you dream about. Its clean air, wide spaces and natural beauty makes the state a must on any traveler’s list. I had the chance to speak with Piper Singer of the Wyoming Office of Tourism to see why you should go to the Cowboy State.




1. Why should someone visit Wyoming?

Vast open spaces, breathtaking landscapes and western charm are just a few reasons to visit Wyoming. Wyoming has been recognized as one of “The 50 Best Places to Travel in 2021” by Travel + Leisure and a top North American destination in AFAR’sWhere We’ll Go in 2021 – When We Can.” In Wyoming, the possibilities for an epic adventure are truly endless. Wyoming is home to two national parks, 8 national forests, 12 state parks and millions of acres of public lands, thousands of lakes, hundreds of miles of hiking, biking and snowmobiling trails, epic rock climbing and skiing destinations, natural hot springs, star-filled night skies and wildlife watching that can’t be matched. As the least populated state, there is plenty of room to roam.




(Image courtesy of Wyoming Office of Tourism)



2. How has the Wyoming state tourism office adapted in the face of COVID-19?


Here at the Wyoming Office of Tourism (WOT), we broadened our sustainability initiative to address the growing demand for our natural spaces due to the surge in outdoor recreation as a result of the pandemic. In summer 2020, WOT launched the WY Responsibly campaign to inform and educate travelers on how to take care of Wyoming's natural spaces, wildlife and communities. The campaign consists of three main pillars: Enjoy Natural Spaces Responsibly: To ensure popular outdoor destinations were not overwhelmed and continued to be preserved, we provided tips on avoiding overcrowding, keeping it clean, being fire aware and sticking to the trails. Co-Exist Responsibly: Many visitors to Wyoming do not know how to safely interact with wildlife, so we provided tips to stay safe, while still respecting wildlife. Be Part of a Responsible Community: We also wanted to ensure our communities didn't see a rise in COVID cases, so we provided key messaging on local health and safety guidelines. WOT continues to encourage travelers and residents alike to follow CDC guidelines, including wearing a mask. Travelers are able to find Wyoming COVID-19 related information at travelwyoming.com/travel-resources/alerts.




(Image courtesy of Wyoming Office of Tourism)


3. What are the top sites anyone should see in Wyoming?


Wyoming is known for its iconic national parks, western charm and wide-open spaces. Yellowstone National Park (first national park in the U.S.) Grand Teton National Park Devils Tower National Monument (first national monument in the U.S.) Wyoming Hot Springs Rodeos (Wyoming has the largest outdoor rodeo – Cheyenne Frontier Days) Dude & Guest Ranches Wyoming State Parks All of Wyoming’s road trip routes led to some of the best adventures.




(Image courtesy of https://variety.com/2019/tv/news/national-geographic-new-natural-history-series-yellowstone-live-1203131896/ )

4. How has Wyoming marketing around tourism shifted its efforts during the pandemic?


The Wyoming Office of Tourism consistently changed its messaging and marketing throughout the pandemic to meet the needs of travelers, residents and its stakeholders. We went through several phases of communication, including crisis: safety and assurance, rebound, recovery and now entering the ‘normal’ phase. Here’s a bit more detail on our marketing campaigns throughout the pandemic: industry.travelwyoming.com/industry/campaigns/marketing/summer. Overall, Travel Wyoming continues to encourage the public to thoughtfully consider their travel plans throughout the state by participating in our WY Responsibly campaign and respecting the designated pathways and wildlife viewing recommendations. We also encourage visitors to expand their trip route and explore the many hidden gems of Wyoming, which are often found in small towns all across the state.By acting responsibly, we can maintain Wyoming as a wide-open safe haven and source of inspiration.




(Image courtesy of https://www.npca.org/events/285-national-geographic-yellowstone-live-premiere )


5. What is the future of tourism for Wyoming?

This past year, Wyoming saw the revival of the ‘Great American road trip’ as travelers looked to explore the outdoors. Wyoming saw strong visitation throughout the state in 2020. Not only did our national parks see record visitation numbers, but many Wyoming residents and out-of-state visitors also avoided the larger national park crowds by looking to Wyoming's 12 state parks that span over 100,000 acres. Wyoming's State Parks saw a record-breaking year with 4,878,765 visitors, more than a million more than last year’s record season of 3,876,039, an increase of 34 percent. Some parks, in particular, had 200+ percent above the five-year average, including Curt Gowdy State Park with 231 percent over the five-year average with highs of 581 percent in March and 474 percent in April. Overall the U.S. travel economy declined nearly 45%, whereas, Wyoming's travel economy only declined 25%. In the year ahead, we anticipate a rise in popularity for destinations such as Wyoming, that offer wide-open spaces and an abundance of outdoor adventure opportunities. While Wyoming may be best known for our iconic national parks, some of the greatest outdoor experiences can be found in some of the lesser-known areas, including our 12 state parks, 8 forests and hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails.





(Image courtesy of https://www.nationalgeographic.com/expeditions/destinations/north-america/land/yellowstone-and-grand-teton-national-parks/ )



Thank you Piper for these great insights. Wyoming's natural beauty, kind people, and diverse wild life makes it a must-see destinations for everyone. I can't wait to one day visit Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Wyoming.

*edited for length/clarity


Me on my first day of graduate school

Rachel Huss

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