CHEYENNE — A new study commissioned by Cheyenne Frontier Days shows visitors from outside Laramie County at the 2012 event funneled $25 million into the local economy.
The study is the first on the economic impacts of Frontier Days since 1997, meaning the data had been eating saddle riders' dust for years. CEO Dan Cheney said though the data from 1997 didn't vary significantly from 2012 data, it was old enough that it was "like trying to compare apples and oranges."
"That was before my time and I think we certainly wanted to improve on that data," Cheney said in a phone interview.
The new study originated from a Portland, Ore. research firm that has also conducted economic impact research for the Wyoming Office of Tourism. Using an agency that had some baseline data for Wyoming already in place saved Frontier Days some money in commissioning the internally funded study, the cost of which is being held private.
According to a Frontier Days release, the event helps make Cheyenne the fourth most visited place in the Cowboy State, behind Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and the town of Jackson. Interestingly, many Frontier Days visitors also traveled to or through a number of Wyoming communities and places including: Laramie, Casper, Yellowstone National Park, Jackson Hole, the Snowy Range and Cody. During the 10-day event in 2012, more than 146,000 individuals attended Frontier Days, buying up 236,000 tickets for various events.
July 2011 census data showed a total of only 60,000 Cheyenne residents. With the 86,000-person discrepancy between population and attendance, it is unsurprising the study found that 78 percent of Frontier Days attendees came from outside Laramie County.
"This report is very important because it measures how Cheyenne Frontier Days Inc. is delivering on the number one priority of our mission: bringing visitors to Cheyenne and Laramie County who spend money at our local businesses and within our community," Cheney said in a release.
He added to that sentiment during a phone interview, mentioning how important it was to identify the income from out-of-county visitors.
"We want to make sure that's not money we're spending amongst ourselves.
A little more than half of attendees stayed in a hotel or motel, averaging almost a three-night stay while spending $2.7 million to do so. Additionally, visitors spent about $4.8 million for food and beverages in restaurants and bars, $6.5 million on entertainment and recreation and $10.6 on retail purchases.
That equates to $566,000 in state tax revenue and $460,000 in local tax revenue.
For more Daily news click here and look under 'Breaking News'