Viral videos may be boosting tourism in southern Utah

Posted at 10:29 PM, Feb 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-09 00:29:20-05

SOUTHERN UTAH -- Tourism is up in southern Utah, and directors said its due in part to YouTube, as videos that have gone viral online are making the red rocks of Utah seem especially inviting.

The St, George Tourism Bureau says tourism is up, and they said that is an indicator that word is getting out about the scenic views in the southern part of the state. Social media is helping to spread that message.

“You have the power of the network, and the World Wide Web and people all over the world seeing what you're creating and are engaging with it,” said Kevin Lewis, sports marketing director for the St. George Tourism Office.

One of the groups making the viral videos are “The Piano Guys." “Devin Supertramp” is another video maker who has enjoyed viral success. The groups have used places like the Corona Arch and Lake Powell as backdrops.

That viral success is one reason the tourism bureau teamed up with The Piano Guys to show off southern Utah.

“You know, they're from here, they got it, and they get this concept of putting beautiful music with beautiful scenery,” Lewis said.

Obviously it's hard to tell what has inspired somebody to come to southern Utah. But the tourism office said they've seen an increase in the numbers they can track: total visitation and revenue from tourism dollars.

"We’re 13 percent above last year in tourism revenue, and that was 13 percent above the previous years, so we are continually on this cycle of upward,” Lewis said.

Tourism directors aid they'll continue to look for ways to use social media to market southern Utah, but they said it’s not a hard sell once people see those views.