November 14, 2019 (Salt Lake City) – Travelers to Utah spent a record $9.75 billion in the state in 2018 and generated an estimated $1.28 billion in total state and local tax revenue, according to a recent study completed by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. Approximately 1 in 11 Utah jobs is now supported by visitor spending, either directly or indirectly.
“Despite decelerating national park visits and a decline in Chinese visitor spending, Utah’s travel and tourism economy had another banner year in 2018,” said Jennifer Leaver, senior tourism analyst at the Gardner Institute and lead author of the report. “Utah visitors are discovering and exploring the stunning attractions that exist outside of and in between our national parks.”
Key points from the report include the following:
- Spending – Visitors directly spent a record $9.75 billion in the Utah economy in 2018, a 6.5% year-over-year increase.
- Jobs – Utah’s travel and tourism industry accounted for an estimated 136,000 total jobs in 2018, a 5.4% year-over-year increase. Approximately 1 in 11 Utah jobs is supported by visitor spending, either directly or indirectly.
- Wages – Private travel and tourism-related employment sectors experienced healthy year-over-year wage increases. Passenger air industry wages increased 10.5%, food service wages increased 7.8%, and wages in the accommodations sector increased 6.7%.
- Tax Revenue – The $9.75 billion in direct visitor spending— leading to $15.94 billion in total (direct, indirect, and induced) visitor-related spending—generated an estimated $1.28 billion in total tax revenue.
- Accommodations – Taxable sales in the accommodation sector reached $2.0 billion for the first time ever in 2018, a 5.5% year-over-year increase; however, average statewide hotel occupancy rates and daily room rates remained flat.
- Visitation – Utah’s national parks, state parks, and ski resorts experienced record visitation in 2018.
The full report is now available online.