Emma Marsing, [email protected]
SWEETWATER COUNTY, WYOMING — Jenissa Meredith, Chief Executive Officer of Sweetwater County Travel and Tourism, spoke in front of the Green River City Council Tuesday about the annual report of 2022. This report showed the event grants they funded, more information on their activities, economic impact, and more.
Earlier last month Sweetwater County Travel and Tourism (SWCTT) released its annual projection report which shows that the Sweetwater County travel economy is remaining strong. With $65 million in visitor spending revenue, new projects, and ideas are on the horizon.
Based on the press release, CEO of SWCTT Jenissa Meredith stated, “It is no secret that the incredible landscape, abundant wildlife, and outdoor recreation opportunities that we all know and love, are also very attractive to visitors from around the country and world. While our advertising efforts alone generated $65 million in visitor spending in 2022, total visitor spending typically reaches almost $160 million, which is money realized in the cash registers of our valued local businesses. Tourism is big business in Sweetwater County. It is truly an honor to work for a dedicated board, and with a talented team of marketing professionals, to showcase this great county.”
Originating in 1991, the Sweetwater County Lodging Tax was introduced and has continued its renewal since then. In the November 2022 election, 81% of voters supported the tax. According to the report, these are the percentages of the lodging tax breakdown: 79% Multi-Media Marketing Campaign, 7% Event Grants (any non-profit, local event that generates lodging occupancy), 3% Rock Springs and Green River Chambers of Commerce (staffing of visitor services), 4% Sweetwater Events Complex (out-of-county marketing and event recruitment), and 7% Administration.
Sweetwater County Travel and Tourism do a wide variety of things to help benefit the communities they oversee. Event recruitment is one subject they are working hard on. Meredith stated, “Most recently Sweetwater County Travel and Tourism Board (SWCTTB), has partnered with both the Rock Springs and Green River High Schools to recruit the 2023 & 2024 State High School 3A and 4A Boys and Girls Soccer Tournaments. We will be hosting approximately 800 athletes, their families, supporting coaches, and staff for several days during these events, and we were so proud to be able to partner with both communities to make this happen. These events will generate an estimated $6 million in economic impact to the local economy over two years.”
On top of event recruitment, SWCTT has introduced many new fun activities for visitors and community members as well. In 2021, SWCTT launched Guided Bus Tours along the Flaming Gorge. Guided by Lucy Diggins-Wold and Dawn Dale, the tour members will be immersed in fun facts along the way. This tour is only $68 and includes lunch, snacks, and water. Tours will continue this summer of 2023. In the summer of 2022, SWCTT released sandboards, made for residents and visitors to surf the Killpecker Sand Dunes.
SWCTT also partners with KUTV Channel 2 News out of Salt Lake City every summer. In 2022 they featured the new Mustang Loop Trail System in Rock Springs, as well as sandboarding at Killpecker Sand Dunes.
SWCTT is very known for its sponsorships around the community. One of the biggest sponsorships they have done is “Brave Girl”, a documentary about a young adventurer who finds out what it takes to climb mountains, especially the one in her own backyard in Wyoming. the SWCTT has recently implemented the Certified Tourism Ambassador Program (CTA). As taken from their website, “The Sweetwater County Tourism Ambassador program is a multi-faceted program that serves to increase tourism by inspiring front-line employees and volunteers to turn every visitor encounter into a positive experience. When visitors have a positive experience, they are more likely to return in the future and also share their experiences with others. Everyone benefits—the visitors, the industry, the local economy, and most importantly, the front-line worker.” Currently, there are 120 CTA’s in Sweetwater County.
With all of this in mind, visitor revenue continues to increase. Meredith concluded by stating, “Tourism marketing and product development generates visitor spending which is realized as money going into the cash registers of local businesses. I am fortunate to work with an incredible team here at Sweetwater County Travel and Tourism and we take our mission of growing the visitor economy very seriously.”