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Tourism is big business in the Beehive State

About 97,000 Utahns worked in the tourism industry in 1997, according to the Utah Travel Council.

And if you live in Garfield County, there's a pretty good chance you're one of them.A Utah Department of Work-force Services report said 65 percent of workers in Garfield County were involved in the travel and recreation industry in 1996, followed by Summit County at 63 percent.

Tracie Cayford, travel council communications director, said the Garfield and Summit figures come as no surprise.

She said Garfield County offers year-round travel opportunities, with attractions like Bryce Canyon National Park and Scenic Byway 12, "which is one of the premier scenic drives, we think, in the world."

"They have a lot of outdoor recreation in that part of the state," Cayford said, and the area features many hotels, restaurants and outfitters.

Summit County is known for its skiing and winter sports, but she said many of the resorts there also offer year-round activities, like hiking, biking and golf.

The Workforce Services report said the state's overall travel employment figure jumped 39.8 percent, from 65,101 in 1991 to 91,000 in 1996.

Cayford said about 10 percent of the state's employment is in tourism, and she expects job creation in the industry to continue to grow.

"We see more interest in heritage tourism. People want to learn something when they travel," she said.

"I think the thing that Utah comes out strong in is our outdoor recreation, and Utah also tries to position itself as a value destination, meaning . . . your dollar might go a little bit further here. It's a good place to take a family vacation."

Cayford said tourism generated $4 billion for the state's economy in 1997 and directly contributed $292 million to state and local tax coffers.

According to the Workforce Services report, the greatest percentage increase in travel-related employment between 1991 and 1996 was in the Wasatch Front South Region at 45 percent. Following close behind were the Southeast at 42.5 percent and Wasatch Front North at 42.3 percent.

Other regions and their percentage increases were: Mountainland, 38.9; Bear River, 32.4; Southwest, 27.7; Central, 10.9; and the Uintah Basin, 9.8.

Millard and Beaver were the only two counties that reported declines in the percentage of people employed in travel and recreation - 34.3 and 12.5 percent, respectively.

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Additional Information

Employment in Travel and recreation

Percent of county workers in Utah

Garfield 65% Uintah 8%

Summit 63% Carbon 8%

Grand 49% Tooele 8%

Kane 40% Juab 8%

Daggett 37% Millard 7%

Wayne 22% Weber 6%

San Juan 20% Piute 6%

Washington 14% Utah 5%

Iron 14% Davis 5%

Beaver 13% Box Elder 5%

Rich 13% Emery 5%

Wasatch 11% Duchesne 5%

Sevier 11% Cache 5%

Salt Lake 11% Sanpete 4%

Morgan 2%

SOURCE: Utah Department of Workforce Services.