That was the word given during the annual Davis County Convention & Visitors Bureau review of the past year, held recently in Layton.
“Of the past 11 months (in 2009), Davis County was number one during four of those months for (percentage of) travel stays,” said CVB CEO Barbara Riddle.
At an average of 63.3 percent, numbers were down slightly, she said, adding, “we’re still in pretty good shape.”
Overall tourism tax dollars slipped 5.5 percent compared to 2008, but that was still half the drop experienced statewide. And the restaurant tax was down less than 1 percent.
Some 17,800 “room nights,” or filling of hotel rooms, was accomplished last year, generating an estimated $5.6 million.
“Almost $28 million has been generated in revenue since the CVB was started” five years ago, Riddle said.
“Tourism is alive and well,” she emphasized. “We’re trying to grow an international presence for Antelope Island.”
That has been accomplished through distribution of brochures across the West to media familiarization tours bringing print and TV journalists from across the world to the island.
“It’s part of the Old West, the range,” she said, referring to how many people, from Japan to Europe, are drawn to an island visit.
While there, they can enjoy horseback riding to kayaking to eating a buffalo burger, for example.
As previously reported in the Clipper, Riddle recounted how “we couldn’t accommodate them all,” referring to those who wanted to participate in the annual island bison roundup, this past fall.
That followed an extensive article and pictures in the Los Angeles Times. “Our phones rang off the hook,” she said.
Weather can have an impact on tourism, as reflected in Lagoon’s 1.2 million visitors – a 12 percent decrease due largely to a cold, wet June.
But the island saw a 5 percent hike in visitors and an 8 percent climb in revenue, for the “best revenue year ever,” the CVB chief said.
“We had over 20,000 visitors to the Balloon Stampede alone,” over the Labor Day weekend, she said.
“We are branding the state, doubling our efforts,” said Leigh von der Esch, managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism of state efforts.
She noted the growth of international visitors to such locales as Bryce Canyon National Park – where 75 percent of 2009 visitors came from abroad.