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Utah Tourism Industry Down $30 Million Due to Shutdown

Utah lawmakers reached an agreement with the federal government Oct. 11 to reopen Utah national parks and monuments.
National Park Service, photo by Tom Putnak

Utah's national parks and other federally funded sites were closed for 10 days this month because of the federal shutdown, resulting in an estimated $30 million loss to the state’s tourism industry according to Juliette Tennert, Chief Economist in the governor's office.

Utah lawmakers approved an emergency legislation measure worth $1.67 million to reopen Utah’s national parks and three monuments mid-shutdown. All emergency funds were not used in the remaining six days of the shutdown and the federal government later repaid Utah $666,000 in unused funds.

Gov. Herbert said the legislation helped offset the impact of the shutdown during a vital tourism period and economists estimate that six days of having the parks reopened was worth approximately $3 million in economic benefits.

Tennert said the state will likely see a dent in the economic growth expected at this point in the year, but the impact would have been worse had the shutdown continued beyond 16 days.

With Columbus Day holiday weekend and fall breaks for many public schools and universities, October is a busy tourism period for Utah generating approximately $100 million in revenue.

Taylor is a senior at Utah State University, majoring in Communication Studies and Liberal Arts.