As the economy slowly turns around, tourism in the state is picking up making folks at the Casper Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau cautiously optimistic.

CEO, Aaron McCreight, says they saw hotel tax revenue pickup by 6 percent last year and they're projecting a 4.8 percent increase over the next 12 months.

"4.8 percent isn't a huge increase. Before the economy went south on everybody we we're realizing 10, 12, 14, 15 percent every year. So we're realizing this is a different world we're living in and expectations need to reflect that."

Marketing strategies for the year ahead, he says, include a special focus on youth and amateur sports, and, no surprise, fishing. And while he's an enthusiastic spokesman for Casper and Natrona County, he says there's plenty of competition out there.

"There's a lot of noise out there in marketing and advertising telling people to go here or here or here, but we really truly do have a destination to be proud of and a destination to market that once they're here its the easy return sale."

The projected budget for the Casper Area Convention and Visitors bureau for the coming year is 1.4 million.

McCreight says they're in the process of finding an outside firm to do a market study that should determine whether Casper would benefit from a new convention center. He says results of that third party study could be in by early December

Field and Stream featured Casper in a full page article recently.  McCreight talks about it on the Convention and Visitors Bureau Facebook page,

http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=235688186471746&comments