- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 26, 2015

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Lower gas prices and other indicators point to plenty of out-of-state visitors coming to Wyoming to enjoy national parks and other attractions this summer, tourism officials say.

Gas prices are about $1 lower than they were at this time last year, state tourism executive director Diane Shober said.

“So that just in and of itself is really good in terms of more discretionary income for consumers,” she said. “They certainly have more to spend on their trips.”

Advance reservations to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, response to state advertising campaigns, Cheyenne Frontier Day ticket sales and international bookings are all strong, Shober said.

“There’s nothing that says it wouldn’t really be a good summer,” she said.

A record 10.1 million people visited the state last year. Visitors spent $3.3 billion in 2014, which generated $168 million in state and local sales taxes.

The Wyoming Office of Tourism has an annual budget of about $14 million, much of which is spent on advertising to entice people to the state.

Shober said advertising is a key to getting people to visit Wyoming and her office constantly is evaluating its effectiveness and making changes, including buying online ads.

“The thing that we did this year is we shifted some dollars out some of our TV and put it into a broader national footprint through all of our digital work,” she said.

Digital advertising is more flexible, allowing the office to make changes at any time as opposed to ads in magazines and on TV, Shober said.

Online ads also link to short videos designed to entice people to explore Wyoming’s attractions further, she said.

The state also has increased its marketing efforts in the Seattle area.

“It all feeds into the same overall strategy, which is to put Wyoming at the top of mind in the considerations of consumers when they think about where they are going to go for their summer vacation,” she said.

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