MOAB, UT, Oct. 20, 2022 – Moab Adventure Center in Moab, Utah, saw a 67 percent increase in 2022 in the number of visitors engaging in its guided tours of Arches National Park.
This stellar growth also coincided with the implementation of timed entry permits to the park that were in effect from early April to early October to control over-crowding. (Arches National Park set attendance records in 2021 with 1.8 million visits, a number that created the need for controlled entries.)
“Although in 2022 the number of do-it-yourself guests visiting Arches National Park was down, Moab Adventure Center saw record growth in guided park tours since the entry system was introduced,” said Sierra Schmutz, General Manager of the Moab Adventure Center (www.moabadventurecenter.com/).
She explained that the mandatory timed entry program did not affect clients of tour operators like Moab Adventure Center who have National Park concessions contracts. The park continued to accommodate travelers (even that same day) who booked a guided tour through Moab Adventure Center.
A number of factors influenced the growth in guided Arches tours and the decline in do-it-yourself visits. (In 2022 the park saw 158,925 people pass through its gates in July, a decline of about 1,700 people per day from 2021′s record turnout. Nearly 238,000 fewer visitors have roamed the park’s trails and gawked at some of its 2,000 arches than at this time last year.)
First, if visitors arrived without timed entry reservations in hand through Recreation.gov (obtained three months in advance of arrival or day of arrival depending on availability), they were declined entry to Arches – unless they signed on with a tour operator who had the required permits.
Second, just in a year, people’s travel habits that were influenced by the pandemic have changed. Families no longer have the flexibility to just pack up and go as they had during the pandemic when kids were out of the classroom. And the adults? They’re often back at their offices and fewer have choices to work remotely.
Third, gas prices in the summer of 2022 were a lot higher than they have been over the past few years.
Fourth, international visits were down, attributed to the realities of post-pandemic air travel. International guests typically account for 35 percent of the Park’s overall visitors.
And fifth, mentioned Schmutz, is the possibility that the publicity around the timed-entry system created its own firestorm and inadvertently warned people away from what they perceived could be overcrowded conditions. The jury is out as regards keeping the timed entry in place for at least another year.
Schmutzunderscored that adventurous travelersshare one thing in common. They count on Nature to help them recharge and reach new personal highs and goals.
“Moab Adventure Center takes our customer experience very seriously. We’ve targeted excellent locations and created some wonderful programs that allow our guides and instructors to provide experiences that appeal to young and old, regardless of skill level,” she said. For details, please see https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/arches-national-park-tours
Moab Adventure Center is a division of Western River Expeditions (http://www.westernriver.com/) an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab and Fredonia, AZ. The company is the largest single tour provider in Moab, Utah. The Moab Adventure Center is located at 225 South Main St., Moab, UT 84532. For information and reservations please call (435) 259-7019 or (866) 904-1163. The center also has a 2,000-square-foot retail space selling adventure related gear, clothing, maps and souvenirs.
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