ST. GEORGE — Southwest Utah is gearing up for a bustling spring break season as folks along the Wasatch Front head for some fun in the sun.
"If you don't have a room in St. George on the weekends it's very tough," said John Olsen, sales manager for the Quality Inn Red Cliffs Hotel in Washington. "Which is great. It's a good problem to have."
Olsen said they've been busy so far this year hosting visitors for sporting tournaments and other vacationers.
"It's hopping — one of our best Marches on record," he added. "The national park is in full swing so everybody is wanting to come to southern Utah."
"By end of August, September and October we were having record-breaking visitation," said Kevin Lewis, director of the Greater Zion Convention and Tourism Office.
Lewis said the visitors kept booking hotel rooms over the winter, with December adding up to another record-breaking month. He expected the area to stay busy over spring break.
"This is a place people like to be in the spring when the sun comes out and so they're coming like usual," Lewis said.
Hotels, shops and restaurants are complying with health guidelines — like the mask mandate, Lewis said.
"I think you're going to find things here pretty close to normal," Lewis said. "I would encourage people to continue to be safe and smart as they go about so that we can get back to complete normal."
Not all areas of Utah are seeing visitors return.
"If you are a hotelier in downtown Salt Lake, life is still really hard because your bread and butter is these large conventions that just aren't coming back for the foreseeable future," said Vicki Varela, managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism.
Varela said hotels near national and state parks in Utah are filling up because of Utahns and regional travelers exploring their own backyard.
"If you are near spectacular outdoor recreation your recovery is far better than if you're in an urban area," she said.
For the Greater Zion Tourism Office, which covers Washington County, demand for hotel rooms in September pushed average daily rates up by nearly $8 when compared to 2019.