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New University of Utah report details role of tourism in rural areas

Utah landscape

April 28, 2015 —Although tourism is important to Utah’s economy as a whole, it is especially important to the economies of rural, less-populated counties across the state, according to new research released by the Bureau of Economic and Business Research (BEBR) at the University of Utah.

“Rural Utah is characterized by a large portion of publicly owned land, abundant outdoor recreation opportunities, and smaller population bases,” said BEBR research analyst Jennifer Leaver. “This combination of factors makes these areas more economically dependent on tourism,” she added.

The Wasatch Front continues to dominate in terms of tourism sales, county sales tax revenues, and jobs; however, compared to rural areas, tourism accounts for a smaller share of the Wasatch Front’s economy.

“The major take-away from this study is even though tourism spending and tax revenue are both higher along the Wasatch Front, tourism plays a far more significant comparative role in Utah’s rural economies,” said Natalie Gochnour, associate dean at the David Eccles School of Business. “The tourism industry supports Utah’s rural economy in a significant way.”

Read the full release here.