A group of hotel industry executives are calling on the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to take more action to address the safety of hotels on federal lands.
They say it’s a major safety issue in the industry that has contributed to a rash of deaths and injuries, including one that killed a 16-year-old boy.
The Utah Hotels Association is among the groups pushing for a review of how federal lands manage their lodging and dining facilities.
We don’t want to see our industry be put at risk in the future,” said Dan Kowal, CEO of the Salt Lake Hotel & Suites, which operates some 1,400 hotels in Utah and Wyoming.”
The safety issue is serious, it’s serious,” he said.
He also said that while the industry has experienced a surge in guests, the number of fatalities has fallen.
There are more than 10,000 hotels in the U: 1,800 in Utah, 400 in Wyoming, 300 in Arizona and about 700 in Nevada.
There have been about 4,000 fatalities on federal land since 1996, according to the National Safety Council.
Kowal said that even with the deaths, the industry is still safe.”
There is no reason to believe that this would not continue,” he added.
The Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce said the group is calling on BLM to take action to better protect hotels from the elements, as well as improve enforcement of the Safe Outdoor Dining and Drinking Laws, which prohibit camping, drinking, smoking, hunting and fishing on federal public lands.
A BLM spokeswoman declined to comment on the group’s request.