While the Great American Eclipse lasted only a few minutes in Wyoming, more than a quarter of a million people traveled in the Cowboy State to experience this celestial phenomenon, according to the economic impact study done by Dean Runyan Associates and Destinations Analysts, Inc. on the eclipse.
“We knew that Wyoming was going to be the top destination for many people who wanted to view the total solar eclipse,” said Diane Shober, executive director for the Wyoming Office of Tourism. “As a result of this study, we can confidently say that this year’s eclipse brought millions of dollars to Wyoming–in a five-day period out of a 31-day month–in travel expenditures and impacted every single county in our state.”
Of the more than a quarter of a million people who were in Wyoming to view the eclipse, more than 75 percent were from out-of-state.
- A total of 261,100 people traveled in Wyoming for the solar eclipse
- A total of $63.5 million in travel expenditures–including travel, lodging, meals and shopping–was spend in Wyoming during a five-day period due to the 2017 solar eclipse
- Local tax revenues garnered from eclipse-related spending resulted in $2.3 million for Wyoming’s state government and $1.4 million for local governments
- Media coverage of the eclipse in Wyoming provided an estimated editorial value of $6.77 million
- Nearly 44 percent of respondents indicated that they would come back to Wyoming in the next two years
- An estimated 29,000 international travelers came to Wyoming to view the eclipse
“We knew there was going to be a significant amount of economic activity around the eclipse,” said Jennifer Griswold, research and analytics manager for the Wyoming Office of Tourism. “To be able to study this event from an economic point of view has never been done before now and it was exciting for us to be able to show, in hard numbers, the kind of impact major events can have on Wyoming’s economy.”
As part of Wyoming’s concerted effort around promoting the eclipse, visitors were encouraged to come early, stay late and explore the offerings found in the Cowboy State. The survey research found that this style of travel–staying more than one day–was prevalent for the 2017 solar eclipse.
“The more than a quarter of a million people who were in Wyoming for the eclipse resulted in a visitor volume of nearly 675,000,” added Griswold. “This means that the majority of travelers chose to spend multiple nights in Wyoming.”
While the research showed how much money was directly deposited into Wyoming’s economy, it also included information about second-time travelers.
“The eclipse provided a beautiful way for us to introduce Wyoming to a national and international audience,” said Shober. “Nearly 44 percent of survey respondents indicated that they would come back to the Cowboy State because of this first initial trip. For a state where tourism is one of the major economic engines and as we are actively trying to encourage return visitation, this is fantastic news.”
While there’s no doubt that the eclipse had a positive economic impact on the Cowboy State, media reporting included 19,603 mentions of Wyoming in eclipse-related coverage with an editorial circulation of more than 51 billion.
“The true value of all of the editorial coverage Wyoming received leading up to the eclipse is immeasurable, especially when it comes to our ability to inspire and generate future travel to our state,” said Shober.
In addition, the Wyoming PR team directly assisted with 61 articles about Wyoming and the eclipse, with their efforts resulting in reaching a circulation of 221 million. In these articles, the messaging about Wyoming was dominant and helped to differentiate the Cowboy State from other eclipse-viewing destinations as they included specific activities and experiences.
Plus, the eclipse provided an added boost in visitor traffic during the end of summer when visitation in Wyoming starts to taper off.
“Typically, we see a slight dip during late August, due to back-to-school activities,” added Shober. “But with this past summer’s total solar eclipse, Wyoming was able to see $63.5 million contributed to our economy during a five-day period, which is an incredible boost for us during a time when visitor traffic starts to decline.”
The full 2017 Eclipse Economic Impact Study Summary of Findings can be found here.