Sun Valley visitors getting richer

That’s one finding of an air-passenger survey.

IDAHO MOUNTAIN EXPRESSJanuary 15, 2014 

The survey was carried last year by RRC Associates of Boulder, Colo., for the Fly Sun Valley Alliance. It polled 1,177 visitors and part-time homeowners at Friedman Memorial Airport.

Seventy-two percent of those queried were visitors, and 28 percent were part-time locals.

The survey showed that 32 percent of the visitors had an annual household income of $250,000 or more. Only 27 percent earned less than $100,000. Of the part-time residents, 70 percent had an income of at least $250,000 and 9 percent earned less than $100,000. The number of visitors in the $250,000-plus category was 10 percentage points higher than in a similar survey in 2011.

Despite those numbers, the poll found that one complaint of visitors to the area was “older/richer demographics.” Others were “lack of restaurant/shopping options” and “limited nightlife.”

Most respondents, however, loved their trips. The survey showed ratings of at least 8 on a scale of 1 to 10 in all 12 categories of trip experience. Fifty-eight percent of visitors said they would probably or definitely return within three years, and 66 percent said they would recommend the area to others. Only 9 percent said they would not.

The average length of stay was 4.7 nights, and 44 percent stayed with friends or in friends’ condos or houses. Average per-capita daily expenditure for visitors was $328, resulting in an average of $1,542 per visit.

Among both groups, there was an 18 percent increase in spending compared to 2011. Total annual estimated spending by both groups was $61 million.

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gmoore@mtexpress.com

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