With the exponential growth of tourism in Southern Utah, Washington County Commissioners recently restructured tourism operations and announced the hiring of Kevin Lewis as the new Director of Tourism.
Throughout his career, Kevin has demonstrated success in a vast range of marketing, tourism and event positions - most recently as the Direct of Sports and Outdoor Recreation for Washington County. He is the recipient of multiple awards for creative advertising and public relations work including many of the television and multi-media assets for the Tourism Office. Kevin played the lead role in bringing events like the IRONMAN 70.3 North American Championship to the area.
Tourism is one of the major contributors to the economy in Washington County. In addition to millions in direct economic impact from visitors, the tax revenue generated by visitors helps reduce the tax burden of local residents substantially. According to data from the Utah Tax Commission, Washington County receives $6.1 million in tax revenue annually from visitor room rentals – that’s more than all but two counties in the state. Tourism generated tax revenue provides more than $1200 dollars in tax relief per household each year.
The increasing level of tourism activity brings a continued boost in employment as well. 2016 data shows that tourism related jobs made up 16.6% of the total job base in Washington County and tourism related employment opportunities grew by 22% from 2012 to 2016.
Sports Tourism has played a major role in building our brand as a world-class destination. In 2017, the county hosted more than 40 major events that brought in $78-million in economic impact. This chamber session will focus on the role of sports and outdoor recreation in the tourism strategy, with a highlight on some new events that you may want to be part of this year.
Kevin is a graduate of Southern Utah University with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and English. His career experience includes positions as Vice President of Marketing and Multi-media Production for LearnKey, Inc.; Advertising and Marketing Director for the Oasis Resort; Sales and Festival Director at Heritage Music Festivals; and News Director for New Era Broadcasting. Kevin enjoys travel and outdoor recreation, theme parks, riding roller coasters and relaxing at the lake. He met his wife Kayron at SUU in the early 80’s and they are the parents of three children and two grandchildren.