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Study: Sundance generates $62 million for Utah each year

By Sarah Dallof | Posted - Jan. 22, 2011 at 8:55 p.m.



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PARK CITY -- Love or loathe the chaos it brings, the Sundance Film Festival packs a multi-million-dollar punch for Utah's economy.

Despite being scaled back in recent years due to the economy, the festival has still made a significant impact on the state.

In fact, according to a study by researchers at the University of Utah, the economic impact of the 10-day festival is more than $62 million. Add in the 1,500 jobs the festival supports and you've got a lot of reasons the state is happy to be playing host decades after Sundance's inception.


We have a very friendly climate for business. We're not oppressive in our government, our tax rates are competitive. We have a great, educated, capable, skilled labor force to work with.

–Gov. Gary Herbert


Gov. Gary Herbert and Zion's Bank president Scott Anderson were a few of Utah's big names on hand at Deer Valley Saturday for the Sundance Film Festival Business Connection.

They hope to show business executives and leaders in town for the festival the advantages this state has to offer in hopes of getting them to relocate or expand to Utah.

"We have a very friendly climate for business," said Herbert. "We're not oppressive in our government, our tax rates are competitive. We have a great, educated, capable, skilled labor force to work with."

Herbert says even when the festival ends, the financial rewards linger into the following year. "We have economic expansion occurring because of what we did last year and I expect what we're doing here this year will give us benefit next year," he said.

The festival isn't just good for the state and big businesses, it's also good for small business owners. Sales shoot up in the packed restaurants and shops that line Main Street in Park City.

The exclusive gifting suites provide a new way for Utah-based companies to build clientele.

"It has been great exposure for us because being a professional company we don't have that exposure of over the counter," said Christine Heathman, CEO of the local skincare line Glymed Plus.

Companies pitching new products like hair care line SH-RD can get celebrity endorsements and word of mouth buzz as valuable as an advertising budget.

Heber-based Real Salt is represented by a communications firm that promotes its product and its philosophy.

"Their products have to be organic, green, natural and give back to their community," said Gillian Christie with Christie Communications.

All the media -- international and national -- as well as the stars need somewhere to stay, so hotels and vacation homes get a big boost.

"People who have come here to ski and watch the films at the Sundance Film Institute have fallen in love with the state and recognized it's a good place to do business," said Anderson.

Since 1994, Sundance has brought in more than a half billion dollars in economic activity for the state.

E-mail: sdallof@ksl.com

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Sarah Dallof

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