The study started with three different surveys conducted to gather information from three different groups. Travelers on Highway12, prospective/future travelers and area businesses were each surveyed. Visitors from 48 U.S. States and 28 foreign countries participated in the surveys. A total of 13 businesses participated by completing and returning their surveys.
While the surveys took place over a period of one-year Zion’s Bank Public Finance, working under an agreement with Garfield County and Wayne County, gathered data from the Utah State Tax Commission for the purpose of measuring the fiscal size and shape of local economies and to identify sales and tax collection trends. A third component of the research involved working with Utah Department of Transportation and area Parks and Visitor Centers to measure visitation trends over time.
Combining all the information received, Zion’s Bank Public Finance calculated the economic impact of the Scenic Byway 12 All-American Road designation. In the process a lot of other useful and interesting information was amassed. Here are just a few of the highlights:
- More than 85% of visitors surveyed are aware of the National Scenic Byway designation on Scenic Byway 12.
- 47% of those travelers considered the designation extremely important when they planned their trip.
- The average group traveling through on Scenic Byway 12 includes 3 people that spend 4.2 days in the area spending $854 while they are here.
- In 2013 there were 117,000 trips on Scenic Byway 12 attributable to the travelers’ desire to visit the All-American Road resulting in visitor spending of $12.75 million that year.
- The Byway impact of $12.75 million in spending in 2013 represents 8.5% of the total sales in Garfield and Wayne Counties that year.
- Tax collections of $482,195 resulted from the incremental visitor spending in 2013.
Also reported in the study are the changes in taxable sales since 2001 in each of the towns on Scenic Byway 12 and comparisons of sales in various segments of the local economy, each year since 2008, between the Scenic Byway area, the State of Utah overall, and other areas in Utah also dependent upon tourism or not.
Finally, a number of case studies are presented in the economic study results allowing further comparisons between Scenic Byway 12 All-American Road and other nationally designated scenic byways around the United States.
Highway 12 was designated an All-American road in 2002 through an application to the National Scenic Byways Program. The Scenic Byway 12 Committee decided in 2012 to pursue the economic study. “After 10 years of national designation and recognizing the growing challenges associated with securing grants and other funding for projects on the road we decided it would be a good idea to measure the impact of our efforts so far”, said John Holland, the Scenic Byway 12 Coordinator. “Now that we have this assessment the Byway Committee will use the information to estimate the value of proposed future projects and to build support for our work”, Holland said.
The full report of the economic impacts of Scenic Byway 12 is coming in early July. The presentation of the research and analysis by Zion’s Bank Public Finance can be downloaded in its entirety on the Scenic Byway 12 website at http://www.scenicbyway12.com/community/foundation-documents/.
The Scenic Byway 12 Committee would like to thank their many partners for participating in the study including Garfield and Wayne Counties, the National Parks and State Parks, the Dixie National Forest, the BLM/ Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Bryce Valley Business Association, Escalante-Boulder Chamber of Commerce, Wayne County Business Association, the towns and cities of Torrey, Boulder, Escalante, Henrieville, Cannonville, Tropic, Bryce Canyon, and Panguitch and local citizens and area businesses. Funding for the study was provided by the aforementioned partners and through a grant from the Federal Highways Administration/National Scenic Byways Program.