Utah state officials say visitors spent more money in 2012 than the year before.

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development said Tuesday tourists spent $7.4 billion in Utah last year. That’s an 8-percent increase from 2011.

State officials say there were 23.5 million visitors to the state in 2012.

Utah is well-known around the country and world for mountain ski resorts and national parks such as Arches, Canyonlands and Zion.

State officials say the money spent by tourists helped employ nearly 128,000 across the state. Many of those jobs are in Garfield, Grand and Kane counties in southern Utah nearby the national parks.

Tourism also helps employ many people in Summit County, home to several ski resorts.

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Photo Credit: A tour group hikes through Bryce Canyon National Park. J. Brew / Flickr