- Associated Press - Monday, September 29, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah’s reputation as a mecca for outdoor recreation helped to deliver more than $1 billion in tourist-generated tax revenue last year, according to the state tourism director.

KSL-TV reported Sunday (https://bit.ly/1nzW20g ) that revenues grew about 10 percent in 2013 from 2012. Local governments collected about $423 million in tax revenue while the state earned about $592 million.

Overall, tourists spent $7.5 billion in Utah last year.

Vicki Varela, the managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism, reported at the recent Utah Tourism Conference in Ogden on Wednesday that the recovering economy has helped fuel Utah tourism.

The biggest attractions remain Utah’s ski resorts, five national parks and 43 state parks, Varela said. “The brand that Utah is developing is an outdoor recreation mecca,” she said

About 4.2 million visitors came to ski in Utah last year, according to the state tourism office.

Utah’s five national parks attracted 6.3 million visitors, while national monuments, recreation areas and historical sites attracted 5.2 million visitors. State parks saw about 4.1 million visitors.

More than half of Utah’s international visitors last year came from six countries: Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany and the United Kingdom. Utah hopes to harness that growth with a new campaign targeting international visitors, Varela said.

The state is hiring marketing representatives in those key countries to promote travel to Utah. Advertising campaigns highlighting Utah’s ski slopes and red rock parks are rolling out soon in London, Berlin and Shanghai.

State officials are particularly focusing on China, with increasing numbers of Chinese tourists visiting Utah.

“Last year alone, Temple Square had 2,000 tour buses full of Chinese visitors,” Varela said. “So this year, we’re making a big play in the Chinese market. It’s a huge market for us.”

Besides spending and tax revenue, tourism was also responsible for about 132,000 jobs and $3.7 billion in wages last year, Utah Office of Tourism spokeswoman Emily Moench said.

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Information from: KSL-TV, https://www.ksl.com/


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