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Europeans continue to visit Yellowstone

Brief by Allen Best

Tourism – September 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

Gas prices reached record highs in June. Yet at Yellowstone, the quintessential drive-by national park, visitation reached a record high. What’s going on?

Jonathan Schechter, an economics columnist in the Jackson Hole News & Guide, said there may be an easy explanation for this seeming anomaly: international visitors. Because park officials don’t track the nationalities of visitors, there’s no way to know for sure, he says, but anecdotal evidence points firmly toward that as an explanation.

Since 2004, there has been an almost perfect correlation between the value of the Euro, which has gone up ten percent, and park visitation.

The fastest growing mode of visitor transportation into Yellowstone during that same time was on bus, the choice of many foreign tourists. And last month, Yellowstone saw an almost equal increase in those visiting via bus as in those arriving by car, a singular event in recent history.