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Sizing Up Tourism and Utah’s Economy

Alta ski resort.

Sept. 17, 2012 – In a state that is home to five national parks, what state tourism officials call “the greatest snow on Earth”, a varied landscape of forests, deserts and stunning red rock country, the draw of tourists from around the globe is no surprise.

What may surprise is the significant impact of tourist dollars on Utah’s economy. According to the U.S. Travel Association, annual travel spending in Utah reaches $5.5 billion, supports 72,300 jobs in the state and provides $1 billion in tax revenue.

Those figures will form the backdrop to the Discover Utah 2012 Tourism Summit, scheduled for Friday, September 21, 2012 from 8:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Deer Valley Resort. It’s sponsored by the University of Utah’s Center for Public Policy and Administration and the Utah Intergovernmental Roundtable.

“The $1.9 trillion travel industry’s growth and contribution to the U.S. economic recovery is notable,” says Robert Bobo, director of communication for the U.S. Travel Association, who will keynote the summit. “Nowhere is that clearer than what we’re seeing in employment. We are outpacing all other sectors of the economy nationwide, adding 63,700 jobs this year alone. That has a real impact throughout the country—including the state of Utah.”

The summit will bring together leaders from government, business and the travel industry to discuss the critical role of tourism on the state’s economy, including a discussion focused on issues particular to rural Utah. In addition, the panel discussion “Getting to the Greatest Snow on Earth” will address transportation needs for the Wasatch Front to ensure a vibrant future for the state’s ski industry.

“The university is pleased to facilitate this annual summit meeting,” says Jennifer Robinson, director of the U’s Center for Public Policy and Administration. “Our mission is to bring diverse voices together on complex problems, and foster the understanding and cooperation that produce real results.”

The summit costs $60 per person, which includes continental breakfast and lunch. It is open for individuals, businesses and government officials. More information and registration is available online at


The Center for Public Policy & Administration at The University of Utah is home to vibrant education programs and top-quality research. The Center’s professional staff works with governments, nonprofits and businesses to examine and solve real-world problems. Coupled with extensive research, the Center’s two graduate degree programs – Masters of Public Policy and Masters of International Affairs and Global Enterprise – provide a stimulating intellectual environment to prepare students for a variety of positions in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. More about the program is available online at


The University of Utah, located in Salt Lake City in the foothills of the Wasatch Range, is the flagship institution of higher learning in Utah. Founded in 1850, it serves more than 31,000 students from across the United States and the world. With more than 72 major subjects at the undergraduate level and more than 90 major fields of study at the graduate level, including law and medicine, the university prepares students to live and compete in the global workplace. Learn more about all the U has to offer online at