Tourism industry flourishing in Sheridan

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SHERIDAN, Wyo. (KEVN) - After mining and extraction, tourism is the second largest industry in Wyoming.

People shopping on Main Street in downtown Sheridan, Wyoming. (KEVN)

And travel experts say it's only going to continue to grow.

Sheridan Travel and Tourism says in Wyoming, tourism is big business.

It accounts for nearly $4 billion of annual spending in the state and $125 million in Sheridan.

"We're seeing new businesses pop up in Sheridan that don't just cater to tourist, but also cater to folks with a certain sense of lifestyle in Sheridan, which I think draws a lot of people from around the region," Shawn Parker says, executive director of Sheridan Travel and Tourism.

Birch Restaurant is one of the new businesses in Sheridan, which opened about a year ago.

"It was just a dream to have a more sustainable, produce-driven restaurant in Sheridan, and Birch kind of came about that way. Fresh seafood, fresh produce, fresh meats, sourced as locally as possible. Just a dream of my wife and I," Travis Sorenson says, executive chef and owner of Birch Restaurant.

Sorenson says he expects a lot of customers during the summer tourism season.

"We have the polo players that come around, and they're here for about three months during summer. And so we get our initial sort of aggressive rush of people from that group itself," Sorenson says.

Parker says it's not just food that draws tourists and locals to Wyoming's Emerald City.

"Interest in national parks that bring people across Wyoming to visit Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. Sheridan's only three and a half, four hours away from those parks so we're a great gateway that way. But also Sheridan as a destination with a rich Wyoming history, Western heritage, and the Bighorn Mountains right in our backyard," Parker says.

Parker also mentioned the Sheridan WYO Rodeo brings an additional 30,000 visitors to the town every year.