Economics

Outdoor Recreation in Utah Economic Snapshot

Outdoor recreation is big business in Utah.

Robert Spendlove and Joseph Mayans Jan 23, 2019

Outdoor recreation is big business in Utah. In 2017, the outdoor recreation industry generated $12.3 billion in consumer spending and directly supported 110,000 jobs throughout the state. From Arches National Park to the Wasatch Range, the variety of climate and terrain across Utah makes it a prime destination for visitors from around the country. In 2017, Utah’s national park areas welcomed 15.2 million visitors, and over 4 million skier days were recorded at the state’s 14 ski resorts. In the 2017/2018 ski season, out-of-state visitors spent an average of $337 per person, per day on ski and snowboarding-related activities. The state’s ample opportunities for outdoor recreation have been credited for helping to attract high-quality workers and for contributing to business creation. Recognizing the vital importance of the outdoor recreation economy, the State of Utah launched the nation’s first state-level Office of Outdoor Recreation in 2013.

Public land is the backbone of Utah’s outdoor recreation economy. With 13 national park areas, and millions of acres of BLM and Forest Service land, visitors have almost unlimited access to outdoor recreation activities. As travelers explore these land resources, they shop at local stores, stay at local hotels, and support the many gateway communities around the state.

Picture of hiker and economic benefits of outdoor recreation in Utah

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