2012 was a banner year for tourism in Natrona County.

According to a report released by the Wyoming Division of Tourism, visitors directly spent a record $304 million in Natrona County in 2012. That figure eclipsed the county’s 2011 mark of $280 million and the previous record mark of $287 million set in 2008.

Aaron McCreight, the CEO of the Casper Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, says he’s happy with the findings from the state’s tourism agency.

“We’re back to pre-recession numbers,” McCreight said. “There’s a lot of (tourism money) going through this county.”

McCreight says he cautiously optimistic. He says research from his office indicates better tourism revenue numbers in the coming years.

“We’re looking at an upward climb for next year,” McCreight said. “Right now, there’s no reason to believe that we’re going to stop or go down anytime soon.”

“Certainly, we don’t look too far into the future – we only look a year or two ahead, and that year or two ahead looks pretty darn good,” McCreight said.

According to the report, visitors spent over $95 million on transportation-related costs in Natrona County in 2012. Visitors also spent $60 million on food and over $45 million on accommodations.

The report also indicates that tourism is directly responsible for over 2,500 jobs in Natrona County.