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Travel & Tourism
Here in Utah our business is up. We used to do quite a bit of business in Utah with the independent gift stores. That declined in 2008 and 2009, but we’re back up to 2005 and 2006 levels now.
PARKINSON: As a community bank, I focus on local business owners. That’s what we do. We as a bank reflect what’s going on in the community because all of our operations are on the Wasatch Front.
We made net income of a little over $15 million in ‘07. We went through the recession, a time period that hurt—actually a couple local banks closed. In ‘10 we made $8.6 million, so there’s the difference. And this past year we made $9.8 million. So I think that’s reflective.
How is the tourism and travel industry holding up through the recession and slow recovery?
TOLIVER: Travel and tourism in both Weber and Davis counties has done very well. It’s obviously an industry that’s an economic driver for both of our communities and has actually held very strong through this economic downturn.
One of our advantages is being an affordable destination, which is attractive to our meetings and conventions industry as well as for leisure marketing and ski tourists. It’s the efforts we have out there to expose our areas as a destination for visitors that brings people in and makes them fall in love with the area and, in some instances, either relocate businesses or residences here.
2011 was actually the first year that we remained closer to flat. We had about a 3 percent growth overall in our tourism taxes, but our average daily rates were up over $3 per room. So we have some great indicators in our pipeline. Going into ‘12 it’s a lot more full than it was going into ‘11. So we feel really good about the efforts there.
RIDDLE: The leisure/hospitality industry is the fifth-largest employer for Davis County with an estimated 9,700-plus workers. We had a new hotel that came online in 2011, our Home2 Suites, the second in the nation with 104 rooms. And we expect to open another hotel this August with a new Best Western Plus.
Our hotels report to us, and with 71 percent of our hotels reporting, they’re logging in over $22 million in hotel revenue and showing almost an 8.8 percent growth year over year, an increase of 13,700 more rooms consumed in 2011 over the year previous. Our tourism taxes as a whole are coming in over 10.2 percent growth, which is a very healthy growth.
HILLIARD: Our conference center is really a business indicator of what’s happening. In 2009 we dropped from an average of around 700 events a year to 525 events. In 2011 we had 654 events, and we had our banner year. We’re finding, though, that we’re working harder for each dollar.
M. SMITH: The discretionary income with companies, that’s what kind of tapered off for us at the conference center in the downturn. We’re starting to see that come back in 2012. So a lot of the stuff that cancelled or downsized is coming back larger. I will also say we had a record year with the Sundance Film Festival in our Egyptian Theater. Many of those are visitors from out of state that come to Ogden.
A real area of promise for us is affiliated with the outdoor industry. It’s kind of a trickledown—if you build it, they will come. We did that up in the Weber/Ogden area, and now we’re seeing stuff affiliated with that—meetings, trade shows—come also, so that’s our sign of promise there.