SHERIDAN — Despite a slight drop in lodging tax revenues from fiscal year 2015 to FY2016, officials said the 2016 summer still gave a boost to the local tourism industry.
Shawn Parker, the executive director of Sheridan Travel and Tourism, said he believes the year’s lodging tax revenues will show another successful summer for the city of Sheridan.
“We really had a busy summer,” Parker said. “There was something going almost every weekend, which really helps the businesses out. Our calendar is pretty packed.”
Official lodging tax revenue reports are not typically posted immediately, but Parker expects the full summer picture to unfold by November.
According to the state’s Department of Administration and Information Economic Analysis Division, in July revenues came in at $85,295. For the first month of the new fiscal year, this was only 3.8 percent lower than July 2015, which came in at $88,626. Parker called the drop manageable.
Lodging tax revenues from fiscal year 2016 fell short from the previous fiscal year. Spanning from July 2015 to June 2016, $635,747 in revenues were earned from lodging tax. That number is roughly a 6.1 percent reduction from fiscal year 2015 which raked in $676,771. Fiscal year 2015 was the highest earning lodging tax collections in Sheridan’s history.
Wyoming saw a 2.6 percent increase in lodging tax revenues from fiscal years 2015 to 2016. A grand total of $17,672,835 was brought into Wyoming’s coffers via hotel lodging.
For July and August of 2016, which fall under fiscal year 2017, it’s predicted that more visitors came to the Sheridan area. Events this summer that drew in large crowds included the Sheridan WYO Rodeo (which had its highest attendance to date), the Wyoming Theater Festival and the Suds n’ Spurs Brewfest.
“Typically, after Rodeo Week, things start to calm down,” Parker said. “But this year, we just kicked right back up.”
“The diversity of attractions have been key for us,” he added.
Additionally, Parker said that the air service has been an asset this summer. More than 6,000 people have used Denver Air Connection since it was introduced to Sheridan in the fall of 2015.
Parker said STT plans to work well into the future to bring more regional events to the area. Included in this are conventions. Sheridan recently secured the bid to host the Wyoming Solid Waste and Recycling Association Conference for the summer of 2019. In the last month, the STT has placed bids to host five other conventions in Sheridan.
“We are looking well into the future to build our summer season up,” Parker said.
The 4 percent lodging tax will be up for vote this fall. The tax has passed every election cycle since 1992, and passed with 77 percent of the vote in 2012.