As warmer weather signals the start of the spring and summer tourism season, many people start planning family trips and romantic getaways. And increasingly, according to a new study published by the Bureau of Economic and Business Research, or BEBR, at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business, they are taking those trips to mountains and deserts of Utah.
BEBR recently released a state of the tourism industry report that provides a comprehensive overview of tourism, travel and recreation-related spending, employment, wages, visitation, sales, tax revenue, and industry performance in Utah. The paper can be found at bebr.business.utah.edu.
“There have been steady increases in visitor spending and tourism-related jobs, wages, sales and tax revenue for the past three years,” said BEBR research analyst Jennifer Leaver. “Utah’s national parks and places have reported annual growth in visitation since 2007, despite the most recent recession.”
Based on preliminary 2013 numbers, Leaver anticipates moderate growth from 2012 to 2013 in tourism-related sales and tax revenues, modest growth in the leisure and hospitality job sector, and slight decreases in national parks and places visitation, due in large part to the 2013 government shutdown during southern Utah’s tourism season. Leaver predicts visitation to Utah’s national parks will rebound in 2014 based on the success of “The Mighty 5” marketing campaign, which was launched by Utah’s Office of Tourism last spring.
“Utah has so much to offer,” said Natalie Gochnour, an associate dean at the David Eccles School of Business. “Visitors are drawn to our ski resorts, mountains and parks, as well as to our cultural and historical assets. Utah really has something for everyone.”
The national parks, national monuments, state parks and ski resorts in Utah are major sources of tourism jobs and dollars, a point emphasized by the study. In 2012, Utah recorded 6.6 million national park visits, 5.1 million national monument visits, 5.1 million state park visits, as well as 4.0 million skier days during the 2012/2013 season. As a result, Utah’s arts, entertainment and recreation industry—which includes