National Park Visits Help Grow Utah's Tourism Industry By Nearly 5 Percent In 2010

Visitors to Utah's collection of National Park System units helped boost tourism spending in Utah by nearly 5 percent in 2010, to more than $6.5 billion, according to state figures. Photo of the Great Gallery in Canyonlands National Park by Kurt Repanshek.

Utah's collection of national parks, monuments, and historic sites helped generate $6.5 billion in tourism spending for the state in 2010, an increase of nearly 5 percent, according to state calculations.

"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 it's 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. “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.”

Visits to Utah's collection of National Park System units -- Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion national parks, along with Cedar Breaks National Monument, Dinosaur National Monument, Hovenweep National Monument, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Timpanogos Cave National Monument, Rainbow Bridge National Monument, Natural Bridges National Monument, and Golden Spike National Historic Site -- were up to 6 million in 2010, an increase of 1.2 percent over 2009 levels, the state reported.

“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.”

Comments

This is purely anecdotal, but the only reason I ever spent any time and money in Utah was to visit the national parks and other public lands. They got five nights of motels, gas, restaurants and camping equipment out of me. In return I got preached at by a religious business owner and lectured about federal land grabs from an angry local, but otherwise had a pretty good time.

Lets hope they have enough sense not to allow urban sprawl and keep the permanent population growth down. Florida used to be a pretty nice place until the greedy land-developers turned into gridlock and an overpopulated mess.It worries me when the director of tourism starts talking about "new luxury properties" and other new attractions??

But Rob Bishop, our Congressional representative from the 1st District says national parks are not money makers. Do you mean we shouldn't believe him?

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, although not a NPS unit, offers stunning views during our drive from Capitol Reef to Bryce. I would recommend this drive to anyone visiting Utah. I agree with Preston's points about religion and politics but would not let that deter my visits either. I love traveling to Utahs Parks.

" were up by 6 million in 2010, an increase of 1.2 percent over 2009 levels, the state reported."

Those parks had 500 million visitors? I think you meant to say "up to 6 million".

Good catch, ec. Fingers don't always do what the brain tells them. I'll correct it in the story.