Bear Lake continues to see major tourism growth

Aug 31, 2023, 8:05 PM | Updated: 8:06 pm

BEAR LAKE, Utah — Typically when the water levels are high and the beaches are smaller at Bear Lake, the numbers take a little bit of a dip, but that’s not the case this year, and you may notice that if you come up this Labor Day Weekend.

They say that competition is good for business, but it can also be good for helping manage the crowds.

Thad Willis, owner of the Summit Pizza in Garden City says especially during the weekends the lines can get long.

“We could for sure use some more food and retail businesses to keep up with the demand,” Willis said. “Our sales are continually going up.”

Wills, along with several other business owners say the numbers continue to go up a trend that started during the pandemic, and shows no signs of stopping.

Rich Shaw, is the co-owner of Shawka’s Shakes & Sodas.

“It’s great mingling with the people,” Shaw said.

Shaw said it’s hard to complain about the growth.

“It’s been a great summer. We’ve been very, very busy. Whole town has been super-busy. It’s just every year, exponentially gets busier and busier,” Shaw said.

But the continued growth is something the Bear Lake Valley Chamber of Commerce is looking at closely.

“Our restaurants are…they’re busy as ever,” Mark Smoot, Executive Director at the Chamber, said.

At the same time, Smoot said occupancy levels are down as new rental properties continue to come into the market and more visitors are seemingly coming in for day-trips.

“The construction permits continue to come in strong for builders to build new homes up here. We have over a hundred new doors of vacation rentals,” Smoot said.

And if you’re going to be up this weekend, you may need to be patient. Not only is good help hard to find, many of the local workers are now back in school.

“We have such a limited supply of labor,” Willis said.

And this Labor Day weekend, the Bear Lake Valley Chamber of Commerce will have a street festival set up to kind of let people know that there are many activities to do here year-round as part of their efforts to expand the tourism season.

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Bear Lake continues to see major tourism growth