Utah Finds Success Attracting Recreation Businesses

CompanyWeek profiles Brad Petersen, director of the new Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation, which was established in 2013 to support Utah’s growing recreation brand.

Writes Bart Taylor:

Industry is at the heart of the effort, and it’s here that Utah’s program crosses over from just another tourism promotion to meaningful economic development initiative, one that Colorado and other western states with lifestyle-related business ambitions should watch.

“The recreation economy is one of six key industries that drive our economy, to the tune of about $5.8 billion dollars,” Peterson says. “Per capita, Utah has more recreation-related jobs than any other state in the country and we are continuing to expand that base every year.”

A push to attract recreation businesses is a part of the plan. “It’s hard to economically measure the number of people and companies who have moved to Utah as a result of our extensive recreational opportunities, but we know that as major companies like Black DiamondBackcountry.comPetzlQBPSkullcandy, and Hoyt Archery have moved their headquarters to Utah, other companies have followed,” he says, adding, “plus we know there’s a “halo” effect of non-outdoor related companies moving to Utah following the actions of outdoor related companies.”