Back to Baseline: Utah’s Tourism Economy Rebounds

Summer in Utah... it's definitely the shortest season and by far my favorite. Turns out... I'm not the only one who loves these mountains this time of year!


The University of Utah's David Eccles School of Business and Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute recently published a report, found here, that outlines some astonishing stats (especially after the last 18 months!) as we move into Summer 2021 in Utah.


One year since the arrival of COVID in the U.S. and Utah’s tourism economy is back on track. Can you believe it?


Leisure and hospitality employment in southern Utah rebounded “back to baseline” last fall, while the rest of the state began catching up this spring.


Statewide, hotel occupancy rates returned to 2019 levels this April, while transient room tax revenue surpassed 2019 levels this February and March. Domestic air travel, which has yet to realize pre-pandemic passenger counts, is forecast to make a full recovery by 2022.


Likewise, urban travel, which took a huge hit during the pandemic, is expected to regain momentum this fall as concerts, conferences, and conventions return to the capital city’s calendar.


Summary of Results, as we head into the summer of 2021, Utah’s travel and tourism economy is back on track.

  • Utah’s private leisure and hospitality jobs are down 5% from 2019 totals and have rebounded faster than in the western U.S. and nation as a whole.

  • Private leisure and hospitality jobs in rural Utah had returned to baseline by the fall of 2020 despite surging COVID-19 cases in the U.S.

  • Transient room tax revenue surpassed baseline revenues in some of Utah’s tourism-heavy counties by October 2020; statewide, transient room tax revenue surpassed 2019 revenues in February 2021.

  • This spring, Utah hotel occupancy rates returned to pre-pandemic levels, while short-term rental occupancy rates have increased significantly from 2019, especially in rural cities and resort towns.

  • Over the past six months, Utah’s state and national parks have received an additional 2.1 million visitors compared with the same time frame in 2019.

  • Although air travel, urban travel, and business travel still lag behind baseline, experts believe all three will experience a full recovery sooner than originally estimated.

Interested in learning more about the Utah lifestyle or planning a trip? Let's connect, liza.story@sothebysrealty.com 435.901.1280.