Yellowstone Crushes Tourist Record, Faces Challenges in 2022
You might say that one way to look at this would be that these are nice problems to have.
You have record-setting tourist numbers. You have a popular TV show that bears your name, inherently increasing interest in all the attractions you have to offer, even if that doesn't necessarily make a lot of sense. And you have a noteworthy anniversary which will likely generate even more interest.
On March 1, 1872, Yellowstone National Park became America's first national park. As 150th anniversary celebrations are being planned, Yellowstone is riding an unprecedented wave of tourism and contemplating how to best deal with the accompanying challenges.
Official tourist numbers have been release for 2021. Yellowstone experienced a record year, hosting 4.86 million visitors. That broke the previous record of 4.25 million set in 2016. Making 2021's record even more impressive was fewer hotel rooms and camping sites due to construction and road and bridge projects that made access to the park more difficult at times.
Even with higher gas and lodging prices, there are no indications that any sort of drop-off in tourism is happening anytime soon. Yellowstone National Park is in big demand, and tourists seem to be willing to try to adapt to the increased number of challenges and time consumed to be able to enjoy such a vacation experience. And visitor services may not be what they once were.
How much can staff at Yellowstone handle? Last year, as with so many industries, there were labor shortages, along with shortages of lodging facilities for some of the seasonal employees that did sign on.
Recruitment. Retention. Supply chains. Customer service woes. Yellowstone National Park deals with the same challenges that many other businesses are confronting, and doing it in the face of record-setting demand.
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