Western mountain resort destinations experienced sharp increases in July occupancy as well as increases in the advance reservations outlook for the next few months, according to the monthly survey published by Mountain Travel Research Program, or MTRiP.

Supported primarily by the Fourth of July weekend, July defied overall economic anxiety and recorded the best monthly performance in two years with occupancy up 10.6% and the average daily rate (ADR) up 4.3% compared to July 2009. The outlook for August also looks solid as of July 31 with advance reservations up 10.5% compared to the same period in 2009 and nightly rates are up 1.9%.

Although it is early for winter bookings and the numbers are relatively small, reservations taken in July for arrivals from August through December are up 8.3% versus last year.

“After a slow start in May and June, this continued growth in both occupancy and rate is impressive and combined to produce a larger overall revenue increase for mountain resort communities than at any other time during the past two years…,” said Ralf Garrison, MTRiP’s founder and director.

The monthly report jibed with other indicators showing resurgence in travel that appears to contradict plunging consumer confidence numbers.  The Travel Price Index, for instance, also moved up 0.9% for the eighth consecutive month in June. It is 4.7% higher than June 2009, due in part to increases at the gas pump, airline and rail tickets, and lodging rates.