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Photographer Angie Payne scouts a landscape shot in Yant Flat, as captured by photographer, Austen Diamond. Read more about the team's photographic trek to capture Utah's light and otherworldly beauty in our 2019 Utah Explorer’s Guide story, "Desert Shutter Speed."


Strategic planning at its best is about focused momentum: defining the key initiatives that will create the greatest value. I’m pleased to report to you that Utah Office of Tourism’s strategic planning process is focusing our momentum around our Red Emerald Business Initiative. Here are some highlights:

  • Broad participation and candid feedback. Thank you for engaging! Over the last several months, we received 359 responses to our stakeholder survey, conducted interviews with 52 private and public sector leaders, and met with nearly 200 people at three stakeholder summits held in St. George, Moab and Salt Lake City. We learned from your feedback. You told us we are on the right track, but you want more from us: more information, more collaboration, more destination development, more engagement with Utah communities to help them understand the value of our industry. We are on it. Watch for information over the next several months about how we will deepen our engagement with you.

  • Visitors give (surprisingly) high marks. We conducted intensive social listening by evaluating 35 million social posts referencing Utah over the last three years.  It was heartening to learn that our visitors view us more kindly than we view ourselves in many areas. While our hoteliers and conventioneers deal with real back-of-house challenges regarding liquor policy, our visitors give us very high marks for our fantastic brew pubs and interesting nightlife. On land use, we also get better ratings than most of our surrounding western states, and the national parks constraints that trouble us, don’t show up much as impairing the visitor experience. 

  • Forever Mighty! Our collective pride in The Mighty Five® and all it has done for our state sets a high bar for what we do next.  We heard loud and clear that you want our tourism economy to be Forever Mighty — not just the five national parks, but recreation areas and natural places throughout the state. We are working on a number of initiatives to show leadership as stewards, advocates and protectors of our beautiful landscapes. 

The strategic plan will be in final form by the end of the year. We are energized about the focused momentum it will create for our Red Emerald future. Thank you again for your passionate engagement!

—Vicki Varela, Managing Director

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In 2018:
  • Utah visitors spent $9.75 billion in the Utah economy
  • This $9.75 billion spurred an additional $6.19 billion in visitor-related spending effects (totaling $15.9 billion)
  • Total spending supported 136,000 jobs
  • Total spending resulted in $1.28 billion in state and local tax revenue
  • This tax revenue equates to $1,286 in tax relief per Utah household

Permit of Solitude
Go With a Guide
Harnessing Passion
Insider’s Guide to Park City

Stories: Read the stories from our latest Utah Explorer’s Guide focusing on “This Land’s Heritage.”
New Co-operative Planning Grant Opportunities

The Utah Office of Tourism is pleased to announce three new co-operative planning grant opportunities. These programs will help communities create, clarify, and communicate their qualities as a visitor destination. With three grant opportunities available, communities of all sizes and experience can benefit from the professional assistance offered through the grants. Upon successful completion of each program, UOT will continue to work with participants to encourage plan implementation, reach out to relevant stakeholders and resource providers, identify funding resources, and prepare participants for their next steps.

Please join us for an online webinar on Wednesday, November 13th at 10 a.m. to learn more about the grant opportunities and find out how to apply. Join the webinar (on November 13th) or learn more about Destination Development opportunities.

Meet Anna Loughridge, the new Public Relations Manager at UOT!

Anna is a Utah native with a passion for exploring the outdoors, building relationships and taking advantage of the diverse opportunities our state has to offer. She previously worked as the Marketing Manager for GREENbike, Salt Lake City's Non-Profit Bike Share System where she collaborated in the planning and execution of large community engagement events, cultivated relationships in both the private and public sector, and implemented strategies to improve the organization’s brand identity. Anna is excited for the opportunity to inspire others to explore, appreciate and enjoy our state. She is currently working to develop and implement a PR Strategy to expand the quality and quantity of earned media coverage for Utah’s travel destinations.

Survey Results & Urban Strategy

Last month, the Utah Office of Tourism sought feedback from its urban partners to support the enhancement and growth of our urban marketing strategy. The intent of the survey was to learn about urban marketing goals and new products or storytelling and also solicit feedback on our marketing strategy. Urban marketing is currently focused on the four Wasatch Front counties. Positioning statements for Utah’s urban storytelling identified from the survey include: unparalleled access to open space and regional active transportation trails; the host of large art and cultural festivals attracting national audiences; creating a higher concentration of cultural amenities than anywhere in Utah; unique immigrant food offerings; and a unique sense of place rooted in our heritage. As the UOT works through the next phase of urban content and marketing, we will call together an Urban Marketing Advisory Committee for further strategy planning and execution. For comments and questions or access to the survey, please reach out to Andrew Gillman at

Meet Denise Jordan, the new Marketing Analyst and Research Manager at UOT!

Denise Jordan joined the UOT at the end of May as the marketing analyst and research manager. She has met many of you at various meetings and events and looks forward to getting to know all of you better. She is excited to deliver meaningful information and decision-making tools to improve tourism in Utah! Denise is happy to hear from partners and stakeholders with questions, ideas and feedback. You can reach her at

November 8, 2019
UOT Board Meeting

December 12, 2019
Travel Trade Advisory Committee Meeting
Salt Lake City

December 13, 2019
UOT Board Meeting
Salt Lake City
December 13, 2019
State Scenic Byway Committee Meeting
Salt Lake City

December 13, 2019
UOT Group Tours Meeting
Salt Lake City
Copyright © 2019 Utah Office of Tourism, All rights reserved.

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