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Aerial photo showing Red Canyon, Utah with distant mountains and a blue sky.
Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest. Photo: Jay Dash
COVID-19 Industry Update

Good day, industry partners:
  
We are working feverishly and creatively on initiatives to help you through these difficult times. Here are a few headlines: 

  • Everyone’s small but mighty efforts to crush the COVID curve by working from home. Zoom has given us new insight into each others’ worlds. We love your dogs, your art, your children and, of course, your enormous productivity. 
  • State and federal recovery initiatives. Watch for a survey in the next week to make sure we understand the interventions you need. Also, see an update below for answers to questions related to Small Business Administration loans and access to UOT's Flint Timmins to assist with applications.
  • Market re-entry. We are measuring consumer sentiment and safety. We are thinking creatively. When the time is right we will be ready to market again. Feel free to tune into the Board of Tourism Development meeting this Friday at 10 a.m. for updates. 
  • Expanding our strong team. We are pleased to welcome Bianca Lyon as our new director of community and partner relations. She will help us build on our foundation in destination development and community collaboration. More details about Bianca below.

Vicki

Vicki Varela
Managing Director
Utah Office of Tourism
801-538-3395 | vvarela@utah.gov 

Community and Partner Relations

We are excited to welcome Bianca Lyon to the UOT team to our newly created community and partner relations director role. The strategic planning process that many of you participated in emphasized the need for the role and we heard your feedback. Bianca will work with regional elected officials, tourism organizations and community partners to help destinations manage and develop their tourism economies consistent with community goals. 

Bianca comes to UOT most recently from City Creek Center where she focused on tourism marketing and sponsorship. Before that, Bianca spent nine years in Salt Lake City government, six years working for Mayor Ralph Becker and three years as the public relations manager for the Salt Lake City International Airport. Bianca has a passion for public service, the outdoors and tourism and is thrilled to join the Utah Office of Tourism.

Please join us in welcoming Bianca to our team and expect to hear a lot more from her in the weeks ahead. Email Bianca at blyon@utah.gov

Resource Center for SBA Loans

Financial assistance for small businesses is available through the Small Business Administration (SBA). Where should you start?

The following questions might help point you in the right direction. Do you need:

For more information on SBA loans, contact UOT Destination Development Specialist Flint Timmins fdtimmins@utah.gov

You can find more business relief information as well as all the State’s COVID-19 resources at coronavirus.utah.gov

Online Tips for DMOs and Businesses

Both destination managers and tourism businesses can also take advantage of this time to do some simple, yet effective, tasks to prepare for recovery. 

  1. Perform a checkup on your online presence. Now is a good time to evaluate your online presence. Review your website and online accounts to ensure there is accurate information and that you have a consistent persona. Make sure that you have a presence on the platforms that are most relevant for your industry and audiences. Create policies to ensure constructive and timely responses to customer reviews and inquiries.
  2. Make your mark on Google. Google is used for 90% of internet searches while Google Maps is used by 60% of mapping and navigation app users. Destinations and businesses need to make sure that Google search and navigation results provide accurate information to users. Google My Business is a free platform provided by Google to help businesses, nonprofits and destinations to provide information to their customers. You can also respond to Google reviews, upload photos and add new places (such as trailheads) to Google Maps.
  3. Gather data and craft your narrative. Even as the crisis is ongoing, you need to plan for recovery. Gather information about how you have been impacted by COVID-19 and subsequent isolation measures. Record items such as lost sales revenue, decreases in bookings, canceled events or furloughed employees. If you do not have hard numbers, record your best estimates. You should also gather personal stories of how the virus has affected you, your community and your industry. This will help you apply for state and federal recovery resources as well as inform budgeting decisions later.
Additional Resources
State of Utah Resources for Business

Utah Office of Tourism COVID-19 Industry Toolkit
The state of Utah’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) information hub.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control Travel Health Notices and COVID 2019 Information for Travel 
 
If you’re worried about whether you may have COVID-19, please call the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707
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Copyright © 2020 Utah Office of Tourism, All rights reserved.


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