Utah Tourism Industry Trying To Comeback From COVID-19 Devastation

Sep 29, 2020, 5:31 PM | Updated: 7:14 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah’s travel and tourism industry is beginning to slowly make a comeback after losing billions of dollars because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A new national study by technology data company seoClarity showed the unemployment rate in the industry is still over 10% in Utah and over 20% nationwide.

“Tourism is the most devastated industry in the state. Tourism depends on people going places and we’ve all been staying home,” said Vicki Varela, managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism.

Varela said Utah is in a good position to make a comeback. 

“It’s two things — it’s our amazing outdoor recreation, and it’s our state’s willingness to recover in our industry. It really takes those two things to pull us out of this,” she said. 

However, Varela warned the industry is not going to recover overnight. 

“It’s going to take several years. 2023, 2024 — it’s going to be a long slow recovery,” she said. 

Scott Evans, owner of the Pago Restaurant Group that owned seven restaurants pre-COVID-19, is now down to two restaurants and had to lay off dozens of employees.  

“Overnight, instantly everything changed,” said Evans from his Pago restaurant at 900 South and 900 East in Salt Lake City. That’s because some of his restaurants relied heavily on the tourism industry. One downtown location had seating for 250 people. 

“Once all of the groups started canceling, that was probably 80% of our business, and it went away instantly,” said Evans. 

He’s doing more than just trying to survive. 

“Everything is different this year and we are just trying to be as creative as we can to come up with as many solutions (as possible),” he said.

If you or someone you know needs help with a job, their business and information on COVID-19, visit a comprehensive website the state has set up that lists all available resources.

KSL 5 TV Live


Deer Creek Reservoir...

Alex Cabrero

State parks expecting another record visitation year, hiring more workers

It didn't matter how cold or snowy it was at Deer Creek State Park Friday afternoon. Nothing was going to stop Leonard Sawyer from taking his boat out to do a little fishing.

17 days ago

FILE —  Respiratory virus illness activity continues to increase across the US.
(Joe Burbank/Orl...

Emma Benson

‘Not viruses to mess around with’: Experts urge caution during ongoing ‘tripledemic’

Experts say though not as severe as last year, this winter we're seeing another "tripledemic" – rising cases of COVID-19, flu and RSV in Utah.

2 months ago

FILE - COVID-19 antigen home tests. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS...

Emma Benson

‘The ICUs are full:’ Keep yourself and others healthy this holiday

It's time for holiday gatherings, but with more people around us comes a greater risk of getting sick.

2 months ago

Julianna Preece goes through the mountain of medical documents she's acquired for her health condit...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Herriman couple is suing CVS, says 5x Covid vaccine dose mistake caused health problems

A couple is suing a Utah CVS vaccination clinic, saying a nurse’s mistake led to the wife receiving five times the normal COVID-19 vaccine dose and caused serious health issues she’s still dealing with today.

3 months ago

FILE - COVID-19 antigen home tests. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS...

Associated Press

More free COVID-19 tests from the government are available for home delivery through the mail

Americans can order more free COVID-19 tests online for home delivery.

4 months ago

FILE - Doses of the anti-viral drug Paxlovid are displayed in New York, Aug. 1, 2022. The COVID-19 ...

Amanda Seitz, Associated Press

COVID-19 treatments to enter the market with a hefty price tag

The COVID-19 treatments millions of have taken for free from the federal government will enter the private market next week with a hefty price tag.

4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Utah Tourism Industry Trying To Comeback From COVID-19 Devastation