Blog Post

Insight: Visit Salt Lake & The Power of The Tourism Economy

By: Kaitlin Eskelson, President & CEO, Visit Salt Lake

Note: The opinions expressed are those of the author alone and do not reflect an institutional position of the Gardner Institute. We hope the opinions shared contribute to the marketplace of ideas and help people as they formulate their own INFORMED DECISIONS™.

Salt Lake is a continually evolving city, one that’s growing and becoming more metropolitan, while keeping our pioneering roots. Salt Lake is so much more than what people expect. It’s a place where diverse pastimes, cultures and landscapes come together in our modern mountain hub of the West. There’s something for everyone in our amazing urban basecamp. Our vibrant downtown is just 10 minutes from the new SLC International Airport and just 35 minutes to world class mountain recreation.

What Visit Salt Lake does for Salt Lake

Visit Salt Lake (VSL) is a private, non-profit corporation responsible for the promotion of Salt Lake as a convention and travel destination. In partnership with Salt Lake County, Visit Salt Lake improves the area economy by attracting and providing support to conventions, leisure travelers and visitors with a strong commitment to sustainability and stewardship of the area’s natural environment.

Value of Tourism

Conventions, meetings, and leisure travelers have a remarkable impact on our economy. After shuttering the Salt Palace in 2020 and eventually reopening to meetings after serving as a Salt Lake County vaccination site, VSL has rebounded and just recorded our best booking year ever. We booked 196 meetings, conventions, and sports events that will occur in 2023 and beyond. Those events will generate approximately 888,973 room nights, which is 24% more than were booked in 2021 and is 13% above our 2022 goal. Convention district hotel’s average daily rates rebounded above 2019 levels in 2022, signaling the rise of our industry’s recovery.

Source: Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute analysis of Tourism Ec