Park City's Sundance Film Festival increases Utah tourism

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – Thursday is the kickoff of one of Utah's most anticipated event of the year, the Sundance Film Festival. For 10 days celebrities, film makers, journalists and other visitors get a closer look at what Utah has to offer.

"The whole event creates exposure for Utah as a center of creativity of film making and of course our iconic locations,” said Vicki Varela, the director of Tourism, Film, and Global Branding for the State of Utah.

Varela says Sundance puts a spot light on the beehive state and over 45,000 visitors get a glance of Utah's beautiful scenery while waiting around in lines to get tickets. “We plaster the wait tents with these great iconic images of Utah everything from our red rock country to our great skiing they can see it all,” said Varella.

 According to last years numbers Varella tells ABC 4 Utah the festival brought in $56 million and $52 million of that was from visitors.

“People come in they are paying for their lodging, their eating great meals, their shopping. So, $56 million alone from the 10 days this goes on and then we get them back here for vacations,” said Varella.

Plus, with all extra people in the beehive state the Salt lake International Airport's traffic also picks up, but airport officials says it is mostly the east side of the airport and the general public will not have any major impacts. "We have a lot of private jets coming in today we anticipate about 100 arrivals today so there are some impacts but we should be fine and we are handling it well,” said Barbara Gann, the spokesperson for the Salt Lake International Airport.

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