Spend to save Utah’s economy

By By Brian Trick

By Brian Trick

One of the great things about Utah is the opportunity to escape the day-to-day grind and enjoy an unique outdoor scene. Utah’s tourism industry relies on this fact. However, it’s preparing for the worst.

As a result of the recent financial downturn, Utah tourism is going to take a big hit. As American families turn to basic survival spending, the first budget item to go will logically be leisure and entertainment.
Steve Goldsmith, co-owner of Canyon Services, foresaw this problem long before Wall Street’s meltdown.

Goldsmith said that, in what should be the busiest time of the season for planning trips and making reservations, “the phones aren’t ringing.” Canyon Services deals in resort lodging for Snowbird and Alta ski resorts. However, the entire industry has already felt the financial crunch. At Snowbird alone, Canyon Services is reporting a 40 percent drop in bookings compared to last year.

Both Americans and American businesses are finding themselves in a financial crisis. The industrial procedure is to raise rates. For example, many airlines have begun to charge for additional baggage. These costs add up very quickly when one is traveling with skis, boots, ski clothes and basic luggage. Flying with skis constitutes an oversized bag charge, which, when added to charges for additional bags, runs around $200 in fees, Goldsmith said. Airlines have also increased basic flight rates. The Associated Press reported in April that United Airlines has raised its rates by 3 to 5 percent.

A negative impact on Utah’s economy is almost certain. According to the U’s Institute of Public and International Affairs, tourism accounts for 10 percent of Utah’s employment. Goldsmith said he knows this, and fears he will have to make cuts. With 40 percent less business, Canyon Services might need 40 percent fewer employees.

For those waiting to see what would be affected by Wall Street, be assured it’s made it to Utah.

“It’s not that it’s going to happen, it’s happening,” Goldsmith said.

Only time will tell how big of an impact the recession will have on the country. What’s becoming evident is that one by one, new industries, categories and people are being added to a long list of victims.

The solution is very simple: spend money. As counterintuitive as it might sound, the best way to stimulate a weakening economy is to add some capital to it. Get out there, ski and fly and rent all the “Police Academy” movies at once. The economy is largely a reflection of the good faith of Americans.

[email protected]

Brian Trick