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Heber Valley hotel, restaurant revenues grow in 2022

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Swiss Alps Inn
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The Swiss Alps Inn is located at 167 South Main Street, two doors down from Dairy Keen, a popular restaurant under the same ownership.

Following growth trends of several recent years, Heber Valley hotels and restaurants reported revenue increases in 2022. 

Heber City, Midway and the many outdoor and recreational attractions around the valley are growing quickly in popularity — even more than other parts of Utah.

“I think that the Heber Valley is really doing a great job in standing out and being a great place for visitors,” said Jessica Broadhead, Heber Valley Chamber of Commerce marketing manager, at a lunch with local business leaders this month.

She backed up that claim with tax revenue numbers.

In 2022, Wasatch County hotels generated just under $4 million in revenue through the transient room tax. The St. Regis accounted for nearly a quarter of that, according to the Chamber’s 2022 report.

That figure is 23% higher than it was in 2021. By comparison, the tax on hotel rooms generated only 1.5% more revenue year-over-year statewide.

In Wasatch County, the transient room tax is a roughly 4.5% tax added to bills at hotels, motels, campgrounds, tourist homes and other lodgings.

Broadhead said consistent with the rest of the Wasatch Back, winter is an especially lucrative time of year for hotels.

“It’s kind of fun to see that our transient room tax is higher in the winter, but our visitation is higher in the summer,” she said.

Meanwhile, local restaurants also reported revenue growth. In Wasatch County, they generated $1 million in restaurant tax revenue in 2022, a 10% increase over 2021. Across the rest of the state, that number increased 17%.

Jan Olpin is a co-owner of Swiss Alps Inn and Dairy Keen restaurant. She said 2022 was a strong year for her 14-room hotel, which was at 100% occupancy most days of the year.

“We certainly had a lot more visitors to the valley. Our hotel did a lot better, and so did our restaurant,” Olpin said.

She speculated that could have been due to people getting away from big cities where the pandemic continued to impact their lives.

She also credited the Heber Valley Chamber and other local venues for attracting visitors — and business — to the valley.

“People come from Salt Lake to see Park City, they also come to see Heber,” Olpin said. “Things like the ice castles certainly helped, and it helped that they were able to open up a full month earlier than expected. That's helped us all.”

Competitions at Soldier Hollow also brought in thousands of visitors from around the world last winter.

Ben Lasseter reports for KPCW in Wasatch County. Before moving to Heber City, Ben worked in Manti as a general assignment newspaper reporter and editor.