SALT LAKE CITY - Tourism revenue is up in Utah and more out-of-state visitors are coming to vacation in the state, according to information released by the Utah Office of Tourism, an agency of the Governor's Office of Economic Development. Total spending by travelers and tourists in Utah was up last year to $6.525 billion, an increase of 4.7 percent, according to the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget (GOPB).
Total direct state and local taxes generated by traveler spending was up 4.4 percent to $841 million in 2010, including $500 million in state taxes and $341 in local. The number of domestic and international visitors also jumped to 20.2 million last year, an increase of 4.2 percent.
"Tourism is a vital industry for Utah, and these increased revenue figures bode well for our state. They are evidence that Utah continues to gain worldwide recognition as a premier vacation destination," said Governor Gary R. Herbert. "We expect tourism to continue its growth trajectory as more and more people become aware of all Utah has to offer its visitors."
Information released by the state also shows travel and recreation-related employment accounted for 122,839 jobs in 2010, a 2.2 percent increase from the previous year.
"It's exciting to see the continued growth in our tourism industry and its important to note the positive impact that this will have on both our urban and rural communities in Utah," said Spencer P. Eccles, executive director of the Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED). "Tourism continues to be an important component of Governor Herbert's challenge to all Utahns to accelerate the creation of 100,000 jobs in 1,000 days."
Visitation grew last year at Utah's national and state parks, according to the data. National park visits were 6 million in 2010, up 1.2 percent. State park visits were 4.8 million last year, up 1.3 percent.
"We're happy to see that our numbers reflect that Utah, in addition to being a number one state in so many business areas, is becoming the go-to state for quality of life and first-class vacations." said Leigh von der Esch, managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism, an agency of GOED. "Our marketing is working. The awareness of Utah is up as the state is receiving increased worldwide publicity for improvements at Utah's ski resorts, new luxury properties, state-of-art natural history museums, and other new attractions."
"This next year will be exciting as Utah celebrates the 10th anniversary of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games and City Creek Center opens in downtown Salt Lake City," von der Esch added.
Home to five national parks, 43 state parks, seven national monuments, two national recreation areas and "The Greatest Snow on Earth" Utah represents the best of the Rocky Mountains and the Desert Southwest. Visitors can enjoy easy access to Utah from the West Coast to scenic vistas, outdoor recreation, shopping, dining, and Western culture.
Additional tourism-related statistics can be found in the Economic Report to the Governor at http://www.governor.utah.gov/dea/ERG/2011ERG.pdf. For questions on planning your Utah vacation, contact the Utah Office of Tourism at (801) 538-1900 or visit us online at www.visitutah.com.