Regulatory and Economic Development
Wyoming Office of Tourism
The Wyoming Tourism Board, appointed by the Governor and approved by the Senate, oversees the Wyoming Office of Tourism (WOT). WOT is the only statewide organization dedicated to growing Wyoming’s tourism economy. Relatively speaking, WOT is one of the smaller executive branch agencies. WOT’s General Fund (GF) biennial budget of $26 million represents less than 1% of all GF allocations. Of WOT’s budget 83% is deployed through a fully integrated marketing strategy targeting potential visitors planning their leisure travel. Of the 24 WOT employees, 22 are in Cheyenne. Approximately 17% of WOT’s appropriation is allocated to personnel costs.
Agency Background and Structure
Marketing strategies have been developed and deployed for nearly 65 years and the resulting expenditures by visitors make a significant contribution to growth and diversification in Wyoming’s economy. In 1955, the Wyoming Legislature established the Wyoming Travel Commission, hired a director and dedicated general fund dollars to market Wyoming’s natural assets and vacation opportunities. Over time the structure has evolved to a 9-member industry board, representing 6 districts and 3 at-large members. Tourism Board members are appointed by the Governor with consent of the Senate. With consent of the Governor, the Tourism Board is responsible for the employment of the Executive Director of the agency.
The Wyoming Office of Tourism is responsible for promoting our state as an attractive travel destination and enhancing its public image as a dynamic place to live and work. Through the impact of travel, we strengthen the economic position and provide opportunity for the people in our local communities across Wyoming. Unlike most state agencies, WOT is non-regulatory, does not administer grants, and does not operate any programs funded with federal dollars. Focused on one objective – WOT operates as one cohesive division: Marketing.
Effective marketing requires significant and consistent funding with the aim of gaining a sufficient “share of voice” to be heard and make an impact. Whether in the form of advertising, public relation efforts, or travel trade sales, scale produces efficiencies that maximize the share of funding that goes to actual marketing and advertising, drives down per unit advertising costs, and enables higher impact. As a result, larger scale collaborative destination promotion efforts are more effective than what individual businesses could accomplish on their own. Simply put, the whole of destination marketing is greater than the sum of individual parts.
By creating and implementing a fully integrated marketing campaign, WOT adds strength to the Wyoming travel industry...an industry made up almost exclusively of small independent businesses and organizations. Cooperative programs allow the division to optimize its budget and maximize resources. Marketing partnerships have been established with tourism entities in surrounding states and gateway communities to the region, Wyoming-based lodging tax boards, other state and federal agencies, and many private sector businesses to maintain Wyoming’s position as a premier Rocky Mountain visitor destination.
WOT’s marketing endeavors live in support of four prominent strategic anchors:
Grow Wyoming’s visitor economy.
Maximize the impact of our partnerships.
Champion the destination and the brand.
Ensure organizational excellence.
Each biennium WOT sets goals to measure the success of achieving these strategic objectives. Performance is measured and shared through a Balance Score Card.
In conjunction with the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT), WOT also operates visitor services out of two state-owned Welcome Centers; the Northeast Wyoming Welcome Center located in Crook County near the Wyoming/South Dakota border, and the Southeast Wyoming Welcome Center located in Laramie County near the Wyoming/Colorado border. WOT also assists WYDOT with the management of local tourism entities operating visitor services at state-owned facilities in Sheridan, Pine Bluffs, Evanston, and Summit.