The May Newsmaker Breakfast focused on the travel and tourism industry of Utah. Utah’s diverse travel and tourism industry generates jobs and income for Utah residents and produces tax revenue for the state. Domestic and international travelers and tourists are drawn to Utah’s natural, cultural and historical assets. Utah has 14 ski resorts, 10 of which are less than an hour from Salt Lake City International Airport, as well as five national parks, eight national monuments, two national recreation areas, one national historic site and 43 state parks.
In 2015, travelers spent a record $8.17 billion in Utah, generating an estimated $1.15 billion in total state and local tax revenue. Travel and tourism generated an estimated 142,500 total jobs in 2015 and $4.28 billion in wages. Utah’s 14 ski resorts and five national parks experienced record visitation and Utah visitors purchased more hotel rooms and spent more money on arts, entertainment, recreation and restaurants in Utah than ever before.
Newsmaker Vicki Varela, managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism, Film and Global Branding, discussed the latest data on the travel and tourism industry, and what is being done to increase the quality and quantity of the tourism experience in the state. The conversation was moderated by Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute director Natalie Gochnour.
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