A new report from the University of Utah shows that tourists spent 8 billion dollars in the state last year.
The analysis shows that much of that money comes from visitors to Utah’s National Parks as well as people coming to ski and snowboard. And it’s not just nearby visitors who are spending money. Report author and Research Analyst Jennifer Leaver says much of the growth is coming from Chinese tourists.
“Between 2013 and 2014 there was a 13% increase in Chinese visitor visa spending which was over a million dollar increase," she says "so that has become a large component of the international visitation as well.”
That extra money has a big impact on Utah as the visitors spend their money on accommodations, lodgings, restaurants, shopping, and transportation. Leaver estimates this creates close to 140 thousand jobs.
The report shows that tourism also benefits state and local coffers with an estimated billion dollars in tax revenue. Tourism is considered the largest export industry in the state, even beating out Utah’s technology and heavy metal industries.
With the success of the Southern Utah "Off The Beaten Path” campaign and the better ski season Utah had this year, Leaver anticipates that tourism will continue to increase in 2016.