The tourism industry in Wyoming has shown appreciable growth over the past year. According to the Wyoming Office of Tourism, preliminary assessments show local and state tax revenues generated by travel in Wyoming during 2012 were up 7.6% over 2011 with $128 million in tax revenues surpassing 2011’s record of $119 million. Tourism Director Diane Shober adds that the number of visitors to the state grew by 4% from 8.34 million in 2011 to 8.67 million in 2012. Shober says Wyoming is in a well-positioned place in the United States with a great product while people are unwilling to give up their vacations in spite of the economy. She says well-placed marketing has been putting the state in the tops of the minds of the public when they’re considering their vacations. However, after the marketing is done, Shober admits, it is the product that attracts the visitors: the friendly people, the wide open vistas, the abundant wildlife and the state’s cowboy heritage. She says the world has a love affair with the American cowboy. All of these elements she says contribute to the brand, “Wyoming Forever West.” The report prepared for the state tourism office by Dean Runyan Associates indicates the travel spending surpassed the previous record of $2.9 billion in 2008, by climbing to $3.1 billion in 2012. Shober says those dollars spent by visitors have strengthened Wyoming’s economy by creating jobs, supporting local businesses from gas stations to retail stores and generating tax revenues to support the state.