Legislature allocated $12-million to Utah tourism | ParkRecord.com

Legislature allocated $12-million to Utah tourism

Cole Fullmer, The Park Record

Tourist travel from around the world to visit Utah’s state parks and mountains when they’re covered in with snow.

Local skiers would like to think their stories of waist deep "pow" and first tracks traveled by word-of-mouth persuading these lucky travelers to visit the area. The Utah Tourism Marketing Performance Fund has a more realistic explanation: Utah Life Elevated!

Nan Anderson, executive director of the Utah Tourism Industry Coalition, and Des Barker, who lobbies on behalf of the coalition, took Utah’s $6.5-billion tourism industry plea to Capital Hill in hopes for money to fuel the tourism funds campaign for 2013.

Their hard work paid off. This year the fund was awarded $12-million, which is $3-million more than last year.

"We are extremely appreciative of the legislators’ support and look forward to continuing the great advertising program we have created," Anderson said.

Utah Life Elevated!, is a slogan designed by the TMPF in 2006 to market Utah for tourism and business. The slogan alludes to Utah’s mountains, its snow and skiing. Past slogans have included, "Greatest Snow on Earth" and "Utah: This is Still the Right Place."

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"It has been an extremely successful campaign that has resonated well with our customers," Anderson said.

In order to help promote tourism in the state, Utah’s tourism coalition creates marketing and advertising campaigns to lure tourists to the state. In order to fund expensive advertising campaigns the group lobbies before the Legislature.

The TMPF is a performance-based funding mechanism linked to increases in sales tax revenue for 21 tourism-related industries. Funding is used to supply the tourism advertising program. The overall goal of the marketing program is to increase the national and international awareness, inquiries, and tourism visits to Utah.

Marketing and advertising outside of the state has been difficult over the years with recent funding cuts made towards the TMPF. Anderson identifies groups like the Utah Tourism Industry Coalition and Utah Hotel and Lodging Association have been looking for increased funding; arguing that the TMPF is vital to building the state’s major tourism industry.

According to Vicki Varela, Managing Director for the Utah Office of Tourism, Film and Global Branding, the $12-million allocated from Legislature will be divvied up between three branches: 10-percent for the Sports Commission, 20-percent for the Cooperative Market Fund, and 70-percent will be divided by winter and Utah’s other three-seasons.

"Our goal is to be the most creative and strategic as possible when spending the money," Varela said. "Overall, our goal is to increase the amount of tourists that visit Utah and the time and money they spend here."

Money set aside for the Cooperative Marketing program is designed to leverage state and tourism partner funding to attract out-of-state visitors to increase tourism expenditures.

According to the Cooperative Marketing program guidelines, those eligible include cities, counties, non-profit destination marketing organizations, and similar public entities that have been established as a non-profit for a minimum of one year. The Utah Office of Tourism matches up to 50-percent of the cost of the applicant’s marketing project.

Winter and Utah’s other three-season campaign towards the abundance of outdoor activities in the area. Since winter attracts more tourists, Varela explained it gets a bigger share of its 70-percent.

Governor Gary R. Herbert’s formal launch of the newest Utah slogan, Mighty 5 campaign, will be on March 27 at 10 a.m. in front of the Capitol Building. The newest campaign was created to attract more tourists to Utah’s five National Parks during the spring and summer months.

"This is a great opportunity to highlight Utah’s iconic destinations," Anderson said.

The new Mighty 5 television ads are online at http://www.visitutah.com.