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.”