Lodging numbers down 33 percent
In the week leading up to Christmas, estimated lodging numbers are down more than 33 percent from last year, according to the most recent Park City Chamber/Visitors Bureau Lodging Report. The weekly report shows the number of heads on beds, or guests staying in town, and from Dec. 16 through Dec. 22, those numbers sank by 33.2 percent from the same time period last year.
The 2011 report estimated 89,515 guests staying in town during those days, but this year the chamber is estimating 59,769 guests.
"It’s a calendar issue," said Bill Malone, the president and CEO of the Park City Chamber/Bureau. "Last winter, Christmas was on Sunday and the week leading up to Christmas had bigger play.
"With Christmas falling on a Tuesday and I’ve heard this from a lot of people it is a problematic day of the week from a travel standpoint. There is not much happening in the week leading up to Christmas because of the holiday landing on a Tuesday."
School release dates also played a role, Malone said, with most schools not releasing students until the Friday before Christmas. Lodging numbers do pick up slightly as Saturday hits, showing that as people are more able to take a vacation, they are booking.
"The good news is that it appears numbers kicked up over the weekend," Malone said. "We’re starting to see decent numbers, stronger numbers, starting Saturday. Our hope is that we’ll see a stronger New Year’s week than we’ve had in the past."
"We always knew coming into this year there would be a lack-of-snow hangover from last year," he added, "and much more in terms of the early season although we have heard the second week of Christmas is very strong. When you look at how much terrain we do have open for December, we’re doing pretty well."
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Park City Fire District Chief Paul Hewitt died Friday from injuries sustained in an off-duty accident earlier in the week, the agency announced.