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Occupancy rates in Park City down last year, tax revenues up

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UTAH STATE OFFICE OF TOURISM/PAUL MORRISON PHOTOGRAPHY
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Park City saw fewer visitors in 2022 than in years prior, but according to the Park City Chamber that didn’t result in less money rolling in. 

Occupancy rates in Park City were down 13% last year compared to 2021. This new data from the Park City Chamber of Commerce mirrors other data used to gauge tourist visits, including how many times toilets are flushed in Summit County.

The Snyderville Basin Water Reclamation district estimates visitor nights with its Flush Index Report. The report looks in part at wastewater flows as well as other laboratory and statistical information. Executive Director Mike Luers said the latest report shows a decline in visitors in December.

“For December of 2022, we estimated that there were 230,856 visitor nights, which was down 8.2% from December of the prior year,” said Luers. “And that is pretty well holding steady for the entire year.”

According to the flush report, Park City visitations were down 8.5% in all of 2022.

But to get a real understanding of how Park City fared, Chamber President and CEO Jennifer Wesselhoff said to look at pre-pandemic years.

“Although when you look at 2019, which was that pre-COVID year, which from what I understand was on target to be a record-breaking year, we actually finished up about 3%,” said Wesselhoff.

Despite fewer visitors in 2022, Wesselhoff said revenue is up. Thanks in part to inflation, visitors spent more money on things like hotel rooms, dining out and other entertainment. The average daily room rate (ADR) in Park City last year was $354, compared to $306 in 2021.

“We're looking at local tax dollars for the year are up almost 20%,” said Wesselhoff. “Transient room taxes are up 44% for the year January through December. Restaurant tax numbers are up significantly up over 20%. And then also our Recreation, Arts and Parks taxes are also up significantly, finishing the year up almost 30%.”

Dan Howard, the Chamber’s vice president of communications, said this is a trend the Chamber would actually like to see continue. More revenue with fewer visitors is one of the key objectives of the Sustainable Tourism Plan for Park City and Summit County.