SALT LAKE CITY (May 4, 2016) – Officials from Visit Salt Lake, Salt Lake County, the Utah Office of Tourism and Ski Utah today welcomed Salt Lake’s travel and tourism community during Travel Rally Day highlighting the substantial impact travel and tourism has on the local, regional and state economy.
The event was part of the 33rd annual National Travel and Tourism Week (May 1-7), which unites communities each year to celebrate what travel means to American jobs, economic growth and personal wellbeing.
“From leisure travelers to meeting and convention attendees, travel supports one in nine American jobs, or 15 million jobs in the U.S.—twice the amount produced by the automobile industry—including one in 10 right here in Utah,” said Scott Beck, president and CEO of Visit Salt Lake. “We’re celebrating what travel means to our community this week, particularly the economic impact that all our various visitors have on our local communities and how that reduces our local tax burden.”
Across Utah, travel employs a prosperous and diverse workforce, from airline and hotel employees, to restaurant, attraction and retail workers, and supports related sectors such as construction, manufacturing and finance. Some of the numbers:
• Almost 150,000 jobs are supported by travel and tourism in Salt Lake and Utah.
• Travel and tourism generates $7.98 billion in economic impact. This translates to $1.09 billion annually in state and local tax revenues ($620 million – state, $473 million – local)
These local figures are an important part of travel’s economic importance nationwide. For example:
• Travel is a $2.1 trillion in the U.S., with $927.9 billion in direct travel-related spending in the U.S. by domestic and international visitors in 2014
• These visitors support 15 million American jobs—roughly 8 million direct travel jobs, and 7 million indirect and induced jobs.
• Travel-related spending generated $141.5 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues in 2014.
“Tourism is an $8 billion industry in our state,” said Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams. “The economic boost is important, but a thriving tourism industry also gives us a chance to showcase the great quality of life that our residents and workers enjoy and to be part of the global marketplace, as we tell our story to international visitors and news media.”
"The Greatest Snow on Earth and The Mighty 5 national parks are Mother Nature's gifts that keep on giving. Tourist spending generates $1.02 billion in state and local tax revenues, which translates into $1,200 of tax relief per Utah household,” said Vicki Varela, managing director, Utah Office of Tourism, Film and Global Branding. “Tourists are helping pay for our schools, our roads, and many other state and local needs."
“Skiing, snowboarding and the increasing summer offerings at Utah’s 14 mountain resorts are an integral part of our state’s overall tourism industry,” said Nathan Rafferty, president and CEO of Ski Utah. “Our success in promoting Utah’s $1.3 billion wintersports industry stems from our state’s ability to collaborate - between winter and summer, red rock to snow-capped mountain peaks. Utah has it all and our ability to work together to promote our state as a destination is the secret to our success."
In addition to its benefits for the local economy, travel can also have a positive effect on personal well being for residents and visitors of Utah. Numerous research studies have confirmed the positive health effects of travel and time off, from reducing the risk of heart disease to decreasing depression. Using time off to travel with our families is good for everyone, especially our children—kids who travel with their families are more likely to attend college and earn more as adults.
“Think of it this way: if travel were able to run for president in 2016, it’d be the perfect candidate,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, the umbrella organization representing the U.S. travel industry. “It’s a job creator, educator, and it’s pro-family and pro-health. This National Travel and Tourism Week, we’re saluting how our dynamic industry contributes to America and continues to do wonders for our business and personal lives.”
** Utah Tourism Facts courtesy of the Utah Office of Tourism
Visit Salt Lake 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. Salt Lake is a unique fusion of metropolitan and mountain; the towering Wasatch Mountains that embrace the Salt Lake Valley offer a dramatic backdrop to the vibrancy and activities of the urban environment.