Utah a ‘bargain,’ gubernatorial challenger says | ParkRecord.com

Utah a ‘bargain,’ gubernatorial challenger says

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

If Bob Springmeyer pulls an upset on Election Day, he could celebrate his inauguration with a ski run or a bobsled run down the track at the Utah Olympic Park.

Springmeyer, a Democrat bidding to unseat Republican Jon M. Huntsman Jr., says he is well-versed in the winter-sports industry that dominates Park City’s tourism-heavy economy. A former ski instructor at Park City Mountain Resort and a onetime ski patroller long ago in Park City, Springmeyer says he is aware that Park City and surrounding Summit County depend heavily on tourism.

"I understand how you make your living," he says, adding, "I understand who your clients are."

As he discusses the state tourism industry, with Park City being a major player, Springmeyer says Utah leaders should more effectively spend money touting the state as a destination. More promotion is needed in Europe, he says, especially with the strength of foreign currencies.

"We’re a bargain. The way the dollar’s valued against the euro, we’re at a 30 percent discount," Springmeyer says, describing that Japanese and Australian tourists should also be wooed to Utah.

Springmeyer says additional marketing is needed to attract people to Utah during the slower times of the year, but he has not set a figure for how much more money should be spent on tourism funding.

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When speaking about immigration, Springmeyer says "compassion" should be Utah’s underlying philosophy. He talks about vetoing legislation that he considers out of step with his immigration ideas.

He talks about trying to secure federal funding for road upgrades in the Park City area, with Springmeyer saying Washington could assist with expanding road capacity at Park City’s Kimball Junction and Quinn’s Junction entryways. Easy driving access to Park City has long been a tourism selling point.

"I think it’s the jewel of the recreation industry," he says about Park City.

Springmeyer is 65 years old, lives in Salt Lake City and owns a research firm that studies the economy and markets for the public and private sectors. He has never held elected office, but has served in not-for-profit positions.

Meanwhile, he says he favors expanded clean-energy programs and wants ethics reform at the Statehouse.

"I’ve already promised to ride my bicycle to the inauguration," he says.

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