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'What Point Is Enough' For Marketing Park City To Tourists? Summit County Councilmember Not Sure

The Summit County Council recently received a presentation from the Park City Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau. 

Summit County Councilmember Chris Robinson was impressed by Summit County’s summer lodging numbers and what’s anticipated for the peak winter season.

“It's a little early to forecast the whole year, but it appears that they may be slightly below last year but doing reasonably well," Robinson said. "I mean most of their bookings come in January, and that's often predicated on what kind of a winter we're going to have or we are then having, but it was a very positive report.”

Robinson says the Chamber/Bureau has a definite strategy for attracting visitors and promoting tourism. But county residents have felt the impact of a thriving resort economy, with traffic congestion and a lack of affordable, year-round housing causing community-wide problems. Robinson says, currently, about 80% of transient room tax revenue—which comes from temporary lodging stays—goes to the Chamber to attract tourists. But to the question ‘do we need to keep marketing Park City,’ Robinson doesn’t have the answer.

“We need to keep asking that question," Robinson said. "I don't know if you stop or ratchet back, do you stay strong for a short while and then you dissipate and decline—I don't know.”

Robinson says he’s not advocating that less money goes toward marketing, but he says other tourism-heavy counties in the state are lobbying at the legislative level for the ability to use more TRT revenue to address the impacts of tourism on communities.

“The broader community discussion is what point is enough," Robinson said. "I think some of the legislation that's been talked about would maybe facilitate mitigating some of those impacts. That's what some of the smaller counties are complaining about, that they don't have a way of using TRT for the kinds of infrastructure they would like that would mitigate.”

In 2018, the Summit County Council changed the TRT structure to reduce the proportion allocated to the Chamber/Bureau, with 70% going to that organization’s marketing efforts and 30% being retained by the county by the year 2020.

Emily Means hadn’t intended to be a journalist, but after two years of studying chemistry at the University of Utah, she found her fit in the school’s communication program. Diving headfirst into student media opportunities, Means worked as a host, producer and programming director for K-UTE Radio as well as a news writer and copy editor at The Daily Utah Chronicle.