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Wyoming Tourism Office Wants 100,000s New BFF Eclipse-Viewers To Return

A van displays a written message about the solar eclipse at South Mike Sedar Park on Monday.        Justin Sullivan, Getty Images
A van displays a written message about the solar eclipse at South Mike Sedar Park on Monday. Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

The superlatives flowed in the final eclipse report from the Wyoming Office of Tourism on Wednesday.

The agency now looks to the future to assist the state’s several hundred thousand new best friends forever as they plan their next vacations.

“It is safe to say the total solar eclipse was the largest one-day event that Wyoming has ever seen,” said Tia Troy, Office of Tourism spokeswoman.

“The eclipse really put an incredible spotlight on Wyoming, the place we’re all lucky enough to call home, and it really introduced our destination to a national and international audience, and we could not be more pleased to have so many people discovering Wyoming,” Troy said.

She was in Casper for the event and spoke with visitors from around the world, and they loved the state, she said. “They kept saying, ‘oh my goodness, who knew that you had all these beautiful places in Wyoming to explore.'”

Besides the places, they liked the faces, Troy said. “One thing that they all commented on was how nice the people that they interacted with in Wyoming are.”

Numbers are still being crunched, but the office was busy as about 60,000 unique visitors checked out its eclipse website in the several days before the Aug. 21 event.

A lot of them want to come back now that they’ve encountered a new destination, Troy said.

“For the Office of Tourism, that’s like a dream come true for us because we were able, through the eclipse, to get a lot of first-time visitors from around the world to come and experience our state,” she said.

“And because they had such a positive wonderful, warm and welcoming experience here, we are likely going to see an increase in second and third visitations to Wyoming because of this, and that’s definitely something we want to grow and pursue,” she said.

The economic benefits in sales tax and other revenues will not be known for a while, but they probably will be good and the Office of Tourism wants that to continue, Troy said.

Wednesday, Troy and other representatives of state agencies gave the final news conference and statistics on the event that had been years in planning, according to a news release.

Updated traffic counts from the Wyoming Department of Transportation:

  • Monday — an increase of more than 550,000 vehicles compared to a five-year average for the same time frame.
  • Tuesday — 244,000 vehicles.
  • Sunday — 217,000 vehicles.
  • Saturday — 131,000 vehicles.
  • Friday — 74,000 vehicles.

These are raw numbers. The increases do not consider vehicles that pass the same place multiple times per day. They also do not reflect all traffic movements in the state because not all roads have counters.

Tourism impact:

Both anecdotal and hard data showed many visitors came to Wyoming early and planned to stay after the eclipse to travel elsewhere in the state.

The Wyoming Office of Tourism is conducting an economic impact study on the eclipse and will be releasing findings from that study in October.

Calls for Service with Wyoming Highway Patrol:

The Wyoming Highway Patrol reported 1,813 events on Monday including 100 crashes, 325 motorist assists and 111 traffic complaints. On Tuesday, the Highway Patrol responded to 609 events including 25 crashes.

Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Kyle McKay said this was the highest density of traffic ever seen in Wyoming. “With this high amount of traffic, we were really pleased with the shockingly low volume of traffic incidents and were impressed that the majority of travelers displayed patience throughout the whole event.”

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