The price of gasoline has steadily increased over the summer. The average price in Utah right now is hovering just below $3.00/gallon. I know that a lot of other states have well surpassed the $3.00 mark. So what does that mean for the travel and tourism industry? How are the numbers looking this year for National Park/Monument visits and travel to Moab, Utah? According to the numbers, we get mixed reviews.

Lets look at National Park visits in the southern Utah. The chart here outlines the most popular sites. We see that Arches NP is actually up with visitors. My last estimates also show that visitors to Moab are up as well. Cedar Breaks NP is up significantly, as is Glen Canyon, Rainbow Bridge, Golden Spikes and Timpanogos Cave. All other destinations are lower this year compared to last. That means roughly 50% of these scenic destinations have seen increases. The other have seen decreases in traffic. Gas prices cannot be the only contributor to these numbers. Most of these areas are remote locations, so we have no correlation there.

Deseret News ran an article on this very point.
Ron Terry, public information officer at Zion, said it's hard to identify reasons for the drop, "but it could be gasoline prices and it could be people are not taking longer trips. We're in the process of conducting a visitor survey. When we get the results, it will give us a better idea of where visitors are from and what they come here to do."

Other outdoor travel industries, such as river rafting, have seen dramatic increases in business. So travel to Moab Utah has not suffered due to gas prices. National Parks still attract visitors, as they should.