The LDS Church's Temple Square continues to outpace patriotic icons like the Statue of Liberty and the Washington Monument in tourist nose counts.
Through the end of April, 971 bus tours had already been scheduled for Temple Square - up 69 percent over the first four months of last year. That's 398 more tours than were scheduled for the same period last year. The square's total visitor count was 4.1 million last year.If the increase in interest thus far is any barometer, officials say, the number of bus tours visiting the square by year's end should surpass last year's total of 2,070. That included 2,369 scheduled and 701 unscheduled tours.
The National Park Service said 1.2 million visitors trekked to the Washington Monument last year, while Beverly Meyer, director of the Statue of Liberty Ferry Inc., says the great copper lady saw between 3 million and 4 million admirers last year.
John F. Tanner, executive vice president of the Salt Lake Area Convention and Visitors Bureau said the direct economic impact of the 4,162,440 visitors to Temple Square last year was $93,446,778 in direct spending. Based on the state's 6.25 percent sales tax, 1 percent of the receipts go to local government coffers, and 5 percent to the state.