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Utah economy

Salt Lake County is the future of travel

Sponsored: National Travel & Tourism Week 2022 (May 1-7) shines a light on the collective strength of the travel industry in the United States.

(Austen Diamond Photography) | Summer in Cottonwood Canyon.

Visit Salt Lake is responsible for promoting Salt Lake as a convention and travel destination. We are passionate about our county and our work to tell travelers why they should come. One of our main missions is to stimulate demand for overnight stays with our accommodation partners by inviting visitors to become part of our community. It’s an easy task when we’re excited about the endless amenities Salt Lake County has to offer.

Celebrated each year during the first week of May, this year’s National Travel & Tourism Week (NTTW) gives us more reason than ever to celebrate the collective strength and bright future of the travel industry and of Utah Tourism. For the 39th annual NTTW, we are encouraging the future of travel, just as we do for all athletes and Olympians who come to stay and play in Salt Lake County.

(Austen Diamond Photography) | Mountain biking at Cottonwood Canyon.

Before the pandemic in 2019, Salt Lake County’s travel industry was a powerful economic engine, supporting jobs and boosting local economies in every neighborhood. The trips generated $4.62 billion in economic output and supported 48,000 jobs in the county.

“Despite the upheaval and unpredictability of the past two years, Visit Salt Lake is planning for a future that will strengthen Salt Lake County’s tourism industry and economy,” said Kaitlin Eskelson, President and CEO of Visit. Salt Lake. 2021, we launched a new ‘West of Conventional’ brand initiative, invested in helping our hospitality businesses rebuild their workforces with the launch of the Hospitality Career Portal on our website and supported our local economies with increased demand for groups overnight for sporting events, meetings and conferences – including the return of outdoor retailers to Salt Lake County in 2023.”

As part of our new “West of Conventional” brand, we are working diligently to build a stronger, more resilient and more relevant visitor economy…for everyone. Here, where traditional perspectives mingle with progressive ideas, the Salt Lake County hospitality industry is exploring opportunities to strengthen the hospitality workforce to serve our residents and visitors. Hospitality professionals also work to ensure the prosperity of our communities and our outdoor recreation facilities, introducing new innovations to support our “bit wild, bit sedentary” way of life, while reconnecting with visitors from around the world for years to come.

While the industry has been hit hard by the challenges of the past two years, we are recovering and positioning our industry for growth and resilience. There is great optimism among travelers to get back on the road and we want Salt Lake County’s urban core and spacious mountains to be a retreat for all.

(Austen Diamond Photography) | Photography in action at the Great Salt Lake.

Natural resources and landscaping bring visitors to our beautiful state. As proud as we are of our state and national monuments down south, here in Salt Lake County, we’d be remiss not to recognize our beautiful outdoor playground that the Wasatch Front affords us. From our snowy winters rivaled by sunny, trail-lined summers, Salt Lake County’s travel and tourism industry contributes so much to our local economy and community spirit.

“Visitors who contribute to Salt Lake County’s overnight economy contribute to Transient Room Tax revenue, which, in part, supports the Utah Outdoor Recreation Grant. The Utah Outdoor Recreation Grant was established in 2017, hosted by the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation established in 2013, the first such office in the nation. The grant program is dedicated to funding projects aimed at improving outdoor recreation related to the visitor economy,” said Natalie Randall, Utah Tourism Industry Association. “In 2021, Visitors helped fund projects worth more than $950,000 in Salt Lake County for the enjoyment of residents and visitors. Projects include Jordan River Parkway – Millcreek Extension, Parleys Trail – 900 West to Jordan River Parkway Trail, Juniper Canyon Recreation Area Phase One, Wasatch Boulevard Shared Trail and nature park, non-motorized regional trails in Yellow Fork and Butterfield Canyons, California Avenue Rowing Center, the Rose Park Pump Track, and more.

Proud of the positive impact our visitor economy has had on Salt Lake County, Visit Salt Lake and our active tourism partners use NTTW to recognize the contributions of Salt Lake County’s travel industry and how we will evolve into a more dynamic, innovative, sustainable environment, and an inclusive future.

We have before us a historic opportunity to redesign the industry to be bigger than ever. From all of us at Visit Salt Lake, we are excited for all the exciting things to come for Salt Lake County and Utah’s travel industry.

Mary Cashion

The author Mary Cashion