It is not clear whether international tour operators or receptive tour operators are selling packages around the event but, regardless, the evidence seems to suggest that some destinations are banking on, even dreading, large influxes of visitors for the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse that will move across the United States, creating the type of interest among those interested in such phenomena that we witness when a comet crosses the skies. It will mark the first time in 26 years that a total solar eclipse—in which the moon covers the sun—will be able to be viewed on the U.S. mainland.
Visitors and residents will be able to witness the event in the states of (West to East): Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
One gets the sense that eclipse followers are almost cult-like in their interest in the event. As the website, Eclipse2017.org, describes them: “These people will fill hotel rooms, sometimes inadvertently displacing locals from their homes as space gets harder to come by. These people will travel through miles of desert or forest or frozen wasteland, braving the harshest of conditions…for a short glimpse at the eclipsed sun.”
Why? Because, “this is the opportunity of a lifetime – to see the most beautiful thing on the planet.”
Wyoming Expecting Crush of Visitors: It appears that the southern part of Grand Teton National Park will be one of the best places in the entire country to position one’s self to view this event. On the centerline, the park will experience 2 minutes, 20 seconds of total eclipse at about 11:35 a.m. This factor makes Wyoming “the place to be” for eclipse viewers and visitors next August.
Aware of this, officials in Wyoming are already organizing and preparing. One published estimate of the number of visitors expected to crash the state for the eclipse is 40,000, with many expect to swarm Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole.
Hotel rooms have already been booked full—likely by eclipse-watching devotees—and, while the event might bring welcome publicity for the area, no one seems to want to promote further an event that, for all practical purposes in the tourism industry, is already a sell-out.