A Cheyenne tourism official says the state's struggling energy sector is taking its toll on Laramie County's travel industry.

"Leisure (travel) is up in Laramie County and it's up probably in many places, but that message is being overshadowed by the downturn in business traffic," said Darren Rudloff, President and CEO of Visit Cheyenne.

Rudloff says business travel was down a whopping eight percent in 2016.

"We've had far fewer energy workers staying in our hotels (and) far less government travel," said Rudloff.

"It's not just the Halliburton's of the world having their geologists and workers doing oil activity here in Laramie County, it's also all of those companies in Gillette and elsewhere who aren't sending their lobbyists to come lobby the Legislature," Rudloff added. "They don't have enough business activity to come talk to the regulators in Cheyenne."

Rudloff says he hasn't checked with the other 22 counties in the state, but he thinks numbers will be down in every county except Teton and Park, which are totally leisure-based.

"The downturn in business traffic will probably overwhelm the increases in leisure simply because it's that pervasive," said Rudloff.

"The thing about business travel is you can't really effect it," Rudloff added. "If the economy is down and your company's not going to travel, no amount of advertising or sales is going to change that."

Rudloff believes leisure travel will remain strong in 2017 and is hopeful that business travel can pick up a little bit.

"We hope that the overall economy will continue to improve here in Wyoming and help get some of that business travel back where it used to be," said Rudloff.

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