Zion National Park Entrance Renovation Project Would Boost Utah Economy

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A new report outlines the massive economic impact visitors to Zion National Park had on southern Utah’s economy in 2019, as well as major projects that could amplify that impact over the next 10 years.

The report, released Tuesday by the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, says planned improvements to the park’s east entrance could create 545 jobs and bring in nearly $37 million each year until in 2030 in southwestern Utah.

The report said visits to Zion, the mightiest of Utah’s “Mighty Five” national parks, increased 47.5% from 2014 to 2019, attracting 1.7 million additional visitors.

If we national to park is a key driver of Utah’s travel and tourism economy,” said Jennifer Leaver, senior tourism analyst at the Gardner Institute and lead author of the report. “One hundred years after its designation in 1919, If we ranked fourth among the 62 most visited national sites in the United States to parks.”

The study projected park attendance over the next 10 years taking into account attendance trends, the effects of park overcrowding, and the possible impact of improvements to the eastern portion of the park.

Planned upgrades to Zion include a new East Visitor Center, electric shuttles, and new hiking trails and accommodations.

One of those four planned lodging projects, according to the report, included a 182-room Grand Mountain Lodge in Kane County. The last of the four hotels would open in 2025.

Four residential construction projects are also planned for an area near the eastern entrance to Sion.

In total, the new construction could bring 550 jobs, nearly $21 million in additional revenue, $37 million in new GDP, and $5.3 million in state and local taxes to Kane and Washington counties.

The report said Zion brought in a record $253.6 million in spending from visitors to Kane and Washington counties. Those visitors spent a lot of money — an average of $1,133 per party in 2019, according to the statement.

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