Overnight visitors to Natrona County in July resulted in record lodging tax revenue, which Visit Casper uses to promote more tourism to the area. (Shutterstock)

CASPER, Wyo. — In July, Natrona County visitors and tourists paid by far the largest amount of lodging tax in the history of the tax’s existence in Wyoming. 

“The July numbers reported to us would indicate that July 2023 was in fact our best month on record,” said Tyler Daugherty, Visit Casper chief executive officer, by email.

July showed a nearly 26% jump in lodging tax revenue with $298,373 in total tax collected, beating the August 2021 previous high of $237,291 by $61,082.

This August was another strong tourism month for the Visit Casper area. Its lodging tax revenue of $250,538 would have broken the August 2021 record by 5.58% had July’s 25.74% increase not been so stellar.  

“Obviously, we are thrilled with the news, and I feel it speaks to the healthy tourism industry we have in [Natrona] County,” Daugherty said by email. “Much of the credit goes to our wonderful tourism partners who we promote and who offer a fantastic experience for our guests.”

In addition, the area was fortunate with weather, and a strong event lineup on a regional level contributed as well, he said.

People who stay at temporary lodging establishments in Natrona County pay a 7% lodging tax in addition to a 4% statewide sales tax and a fifth-penny local sales tax. 

The 7% lodging tax, which is assessed on overnight stays at hotels, motels, RV parks, campgrounds, guest ranches, Airbnbs and other lodging facilities, consists of a statewide 5% lodging tax. Of the 5% statewide tax, 3% goes to the Wyoming Office of Tourism, which promotes the state as a destination for visitors across the globe, and the other 2% is distributed to each county. 

Natrona County has another optional 2%, for a total of 4% in lodging tax funds going to Visit Casper to boost local tourism. 

The optional lodging tax on top of the 5% statewide assessment varies 0–4% by county; however, numbers seem to indicate that on average July tourism was strong throughout the state.

According to the Wyoming Department of Revenue, which tracks lodging tax revenue by county, lodging taxes collected by all Wyoming counties in July 2022 totaled $3.19 million. Compared to $4.10 million in total collections in July 2023, the difference is a 28.4% increase.

A spokesperson for the Wyoming Office of Tourism was not immediately available for comment at time of publication.

While the percentage of lodging tax assessed has changed over the years, the ability to tax lodging services in Wyoming dates back to at least 1999 as noted in Wyoming statute, amended in 2019 to include the 5% statewide lodging tax implemented in 2021. 

In 2022, Natrona County received $1.95 million in lodging tax revenue, according to a tax rate chart from Visit Casper. With four months remaining, collections to date in 2023 total $1.36 million, or $591,207 shy of the 2022 total.

View Natrona County lodging tax revenue by calendar year from 2018 to 2023 below: