Summer visitation continues to climb in Park City
Park City’s summer tourism season continues to be hot.
Data showing lodging occupancy in Park City and anecdotal evidence from businesses in the area point to a steady summer as companies continue to relocate corporate meetings and retreats to the area and regional visitors flock to summer events.
Bill Malone, president and CEO of the Park City Chamber/Bureau, said May and June were up in occupancy from last year, with July remaining flat at 56 percent occupancy, according to data from DestiMetrics. Projections for the rest of the summer season – May to October – show August and October are also expected to be higher than last year, with September remaining flat.
Malone said Park City continues to attract conferences throughout the summer that want to offer different activities to their attendees. He said business travel accounts for a large amount of the occupancy during the summer.
“Over time, our summer business has gotten better, and I think a lot of that has to do with there being more to offer,” he said.
A midweek Fourth of July might have dissuaded companies to host conferences that week, as well as the weekends before and after the holiday, Malone said. He said the holiday might have played a role in a stagnant July for occupancy.
“But,” he said. “With a hot summer, we picked up a little bit on the leisure side that week.”
Malone said more day-tripping visitors are coming from the Salt Lake Valley to events like the Fourth of July festivities, summer concerts, the Park Silly Sunday Market and the Park City Kimball Arts Festival.
Since it has been an exceptionally hot summer in Utah, he said, residents in the valley have also driven up to Park City to escape the heat. As the population of Salt Lake and Utah counties continues to grow, those day-tripping visitors are likely to increase, he said.
“I think we forget that there are a lot of people who are moving to Utah, especially in the technology sectors,” he said. “People discover us and say, ‘Wow, there’s this cool place 35 minutes from my home and it is 10 degrees cooler.”
Businesses also reported that visitors have been coming through their doors more regularly than previous years.
Kole Nordmann, marketing manager for the Utah Olympic Park, said the park had a slow start to the season, but there was an uptick in the middle of June that has not slowed down. He said events like the Psicobloc climbing competition and the Flying Ace All-Star Aerial Show every weekend during the summer attract both Parkites and people living in the surrounding area.
Ian Hartley, manager of White Pine Touring, said the town seems to be busier this summer than in the past.
“It had a little bit of a slow start, but it picked up really well and it looks like business is going to carry all the way through into the fall,” he said.
Malone said he has heard positive things from the business community that restaurant sales, concert tickets and attendance at major events have all been high this year.
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Another ski season is in the books, and much to the relief of the restaurant industry, the outlook, like the weather, is looking sunny.