Falling gas prices not boosting local tourism | ParkRecord.com

Falling gas prices not boosting local tourism

Gas prices continue to fall around the country, but local officials say that doesn’t seem to be boosting visitor traffic to Park City this winter.

According to AAA, gas prices have dipped to an average of $2.06 per gallon in Utah and $2.12 across the country. But Bill Malone, president of the Park City Chamber/Bureau, said most visitors fly into Salt Lake City, rather than drive, and the cheaper cost of fuel isn’t translating into cheaper airfare.

"It really doesn’t come into play, in terms of winter vacations," Malone said.

The gas prices also don’t seem to be encouraging skiers and snowboarders coming in from the Salt Lake Valley to visit town any more often.

"When you’re talking a dollar a gallon cheaper than what it was a year ago, still, what’s the total cost?" Malone said. "I don’t know if you say, ‘Gosh, it’s $2 or $3 less,’ that gets people up here much more."

Still, the falling prices at the pump are a welcome sight to many in Park City. Perhaps the biggest impact, Malone said, is not on the town’s vacationers, but rather those who are always here.

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"I think where it does come into play is the workforce," he said. "It’s a benefit to employees that they’re spending less. It makes the paycheck stretch a little farther."

According to AAA, gas may continue to be cheap throughout 2015. Though geopolitical shifts can quickly change the price of crude oil, AAA projects a gallon of gas will remain below $3 throughout the year.

Malone said that if prices remain low throughout the summer, that’s when Park City’s tourism may start to see some benefit.

"Summer might have different variables," he said. "People travel great distances across the country in cars."