Salt Lake County is the future of travel

Salt Lake County is the future of travel

Sponsored: National Travel and Tourism Week 2022 (May 1-7) spotlights the collective strength of the U.S. travel industry.

(Austen Diamond Photography) | Summer in Cottonwood Canyon.

Visit Salt Lake is responsible for the promotion of Salt Lake as a convention and travel destination. We are passionate about our county and our job to tell travelers why they should come. One of our primary missions is to drive demand for overnight stays with our lodging partners by inviting visitors to be part of our community. This is an easy task when we are enthusiastic about the endless amenities that Salt Lake County offers.

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

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

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

“Despite the upheaval and unpredictability of the last 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 & CEO of Visit Salt Lake., “Since the Summer of 2021, we launched a new brand initiative ‘West of Conventional,’ invested in helping our hospitality businesses rebuild their workforces with the launch of the Hospitality Career Portal on our website and have supported our local economies with increased overnight group demand for sporting events, meetings, and conferences – including bringing Outdoor Retailer back to Salt Lake County in 2023.”

As part of our new “West of Conventional” brand we are working diligently to build a stronger visitor economy that is more resilient and more relevant … for everyone. Here, where traditional outlooks mingle with progressive ideas, Salt Lake County’s hospitality industry is exploring opportunities to strengthen the hospitality workforce serving our residents and our visitors. Hospitality professionals are also working to ensure our communities and outdoor recreation infrastructure prosper, ushering in new innovations to support our “little bit wild, little bit settled” lifestyle, while reconnecting with visitors from around the world for years to come.

While the industry was 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 outdoor amenities bring visitors into our beautiful state. As proud as we are of our state and national monuments in the south, here in Salt Lake County we would be remiss not to recognize our own beautiful outdoor playground that the Wasatch Front provides us. From our snow-capped winters rivaled by sunny, trail bound summers, Salt Lake County’s travel and tourism industry contributes a great deal to our local economy and the spirit of our community.

“Visitors contributing to Salt Lake County’s overnight economy contribute transient room tax revenue, which in portion, supports the Utah Outdoor Recreation Grant. The Utah Outdoor Recreation Grant was created in 2017, housed under the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation created in 2013, the first such office in the nation. The grant program is dedicated to funding projects to enhance outdoor recreation related to the visitor economy,” said Natalie Randall, Utah Tourism Industry Association. “In 2021, visitors have helped fund projects amounting to over $950,000 in Salt Lake County for residents and visitors alike to enjoy. Projects include the Jordan River Parkway – Millcreek Extension, Parleys Trail – 900 West to Jordan River Parkway Trail, Phase One of the Juniper Canyon Recreation Area, Wasatch Boulevard Shared Trailhead and Nature Park, non-motorized regional trails within the Yellow Fork & Butterfield Canyons, California Avenue Rowing Center, the Rose Park Pump Track, and more.”

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

We have before us a historic opportunity to reimagine the industry to be greater than ever before. From all of us at Visit Salt Lake, we are excited for all the promising things ahead for Salt Lake County and the Utah travel industry.