Utah’s outside recreation financial system grows by over 27%. How does Southern Utah examine? – St George Information


ST. GEORGE – Outdoor recreation in Utah has an economic output of $6.1 billion, which is 2.7% of the state’s gross domestic product and is responsible for the creation of 66,736 jobs. How Does the Outdoor Economy in Southern Utah Compare?

A man looks over the edge at Dead Horse Point, Utah, March 13, 2021 | Photo by Alysha Lundgren, St George News

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis released economic data for 2021 “demonstrating the strong and positive economic impact of outdoor recreation on the U.S. economy,” according to a press release from the Utah Division of Outdoor Recreation and Outdoor Recreation roundtable.

Utah’s outdoor economy grew 27.3% from 2020 to 2021, the press release said, citing data from the Bureau’s Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account.

The outdoor recreation industry is a “persistent economic and employment driver” in Utah, Tara McKee, the division’s associate director of grants and planning, said in the release. The report’s numbers confirm what the Utah Division of Outdoor Recreation “saw on the ground.”

“People are flocking to the great outdoors like never before, and we will continue to work to ensure that all Utahns can lead healthy and active lifestyles through outdoor recreation,” she said.

A woman enjoys the view of Cascade Falls near Duck Creek Village, Utah, May 26, 2020 | Photo by Alysha Lundgren, St George News

Utah’s top recreational industries include snow activities, boating and fishing, RV riding, ATV and motorcycle riding, and hunting, shooting and trapping, according to a one-pager shared by the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable.

In 2020, visitor spending directly supported 1,804 travel and tourism jobs in Iron County, down 8.1% since 2019 and another 497 indirect or induced jobs, according to the February 2022 Travel and Tourism County Profile by Kem C. Gardner from the University of Utah Institute for Policy. About 87 of them were in leisure time.

In Washington County, visitors supported 7,029 direct travel and tourism jobs in 2020 — up from 7,582 in 2019 — and 2,622 indirect jobs, according to the profile. About 425 of these were employed in the leisure industry.

St. George was the second most visited city in Utah in 2021, after Salt Lake City, for both domestic and international visitors. According to the Utah Office of Tourism’s Utah Visitor Profile and Insights Report, five of the top eight destinations for out-of-state visitors are in southern Utah, including Cedar City, Moab and Bryce Canyon National Park.

This file photo shows young climber Sam and his father Joe Baker on camp beds on portal ledges anchored to the side of Moonlight Buttress in Zion National Park during their ascent in Springdale, Utah | Photo courtesy of Joe Baker, St George News

In 2o21, Washington County’s total tourism tax revenue was $15.3 million, and the majority of visitor spending went to St. George, Springdale and Zion National Park, according to the Greater Zion Convention and Tourism Office’s 2021 Tourism Report.

Zion was the most visited state or national park in the region with more than 5 million visitors, up from nearly 3.6 million in 2020. Sand Hollow reported over 1.5 million and Snow Canyon State Park reported approximately 858,748 visitors.

Iron County’s tourism revenue for 2021 was nearly $2.9 million, according to Visit Cedar City – Brian Head’s most recent annual report. Top area attractions included Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and Cedar Breaks National Monument.

According to the press release, nationally, outdoor recreation generates about $862 billion in economic output and creates 4.5 million jobs, which account for 3% of the United States workforce and contribute more to the overall economy than agriculture, oil and gas exploration, mining and utilities.

The bureau’s data underscores the importance of investing in public land, water and recreational infrastructure and all types of recreational activities in the United States, said Jessica Turner, president of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable.

This file photo shows a group of people from the Up for Anything Facebook group hiking in Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, Utah, March 20, 2022 | Photo by Alysha Lundgren, St George News

“From creating jobs and increased profits for small businesses in the local economy, to greater blessings for our national economy, this sector is a constant engine, even in times of economic uncertainty,” she said.

“The strength of the outdoor recreation economy reflects what many in the industry have long recognized as true: There are endless benefits to be had as more people spend time outdoors, and they will only grow with continued investment.”

The bureau has released data on “this critical industry sector” for five consecutive years, the press release said.

“Today’s release demonstrates how the outdoor industry, which has played an important economic and social role during the pandemic, has since sustained remarkable growth and further strengthened the local economy,” the release reads.

Visit the Utah Division of Outdoor Recreation website for more information.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2022, All Rights Reserved.

Alysha Lundgren joined the St George News team in 2022. She began her career as a freelancer, writing resource articles for families with children with disabilities. She also covered topics like astronomy, recreation and nature. Originally from Nevada, Alysha quickly fell in love with Utah after moving to Cedar City. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and photographing Utah’s beautiful landscapes, or snuggling up in a blanket to play video games or read a good book.