Visit Casper Releases 10 Year Tourism Plan
In a press release on Dec. 15, Visit Casper announced that they had released its 2021 tourism master plan, a 10-year plan with various goals and initiatives.
The master plan outlines several focus areas, including: partnerships to create new amenities and welcome new businesses, enhancing existing amenities like the Ford Wyoming Center and Proud to Host the Best, improve Casper’s transportation and air service, keep Casper leadership position in hosting sporting events, and develop places like Casper Mountain and the North Platte River.
Each area includes projects that would be addressed in one to two years, three to five years, or five to 10 years and whether it would be with the county, cities, or businesses.
The plan also surveyed 502 resident, 202 visitor, and 29 stakeholder, to get a better idea of what the community wants.
Brook Kaufman, CEO of Visit Casper, said from those surveys they learned outdoor recreation is an important point for both visitors and residents.
"Our residents, that was number one for them, the opportunity to recreate and be outdoors," Kaufman said. "From our visitor perspective, hospitality rated number one for the importance in a destination, and then that was followed by outdoor rec. So it tells us that even as we look at visitors spending, which is not in this, you can tell that visitor spending is increasing in Natrona County. It continues to be a real opportunity for us for development and growth."
Kaufman said part of the impotence for the plan was federal funding provided with the American Rescue Plan to the Economic Development Administration to help revitalize tourism across the country.
In terms of funding projects from the master plan, Kaufman said it would mostly involve partnerships with public or private entities and by applying for grants.
One of those projects could be the Ford Wyoming Center, which is celebrating it's 40th year in 2022, and the city of Casper and Visit Casper are in talks to spend around $90,000 to commission a study to assess what improvements could be made to the building to make it more profitable.
Another area of interest is the Casper-Natrona County Airport, which Kaufman said is an important tool to keep people coming to the county, and why the county is trying to hold onto the connection to Salt Lake City.