Tool kit enables Parkites to support tourism
January 17, 2007
The tourism industry doesn’t get as much support from other counties as it does from Summit.
"To us in Summit County, it’s second nature and it doesn’t get the same attention in other parts of the state," said Bill Malone, executive director of the Park City Chamber Bureau and vice president of the Utah Tourism Industry Coalition (UTIC).
To help influence more legislation in support of tourism, UTIC has prepared an Advocacy Tool Kit for organizations that want to help. The tool kit can be found on the Web site http://www.utahtourism.org.
"The tool kit is designed to keep the legislature’s focus or awareness of what’s happening in tourism from an economic standpoint," Malone said. "Our legislators are in tune with it. We are fortunate."
The tool kit is a relatively new project and has been available for about a year. It will help people find information that will help them to effectively participate in efforts to promote the continued growth of tourism funding in the state, according to Nan Groves Anderson, the executive director of UTIC.
The tool kit covers "information on topics ranging from the organization and procedures of the legislature, reading and understanding bills and resolutions, to Web site links for staying informed about the legislature sessions." Anderson said.
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The kit also educates the viewer about the "necessity of continued investment from state government." One of the main purposes of it is to help people communicate with the government.
"I think the interesting part is communicating with our legislatures as it relates to tourism," Malone said. Adding that he believes it’s important for Parkites to help communicate with the legislature because the needs here are unique.
"Tourism is an integral part of our success," Malone said. "It’s not the case in other parts of the state. The tool kit is very valuable for people being able to take it out and use hints and ideas to basically sell the concept of reinvesting of statewide marketing."
Many, who may want to influence the legislature, may not know where to start. The kit gives people the tools to do so.
"Sometimes the process is intimidating to business owners and managers," Anderson said. "Our primary intent is for the tourism industry to use these tools to get them started. This will help them understand that it isn’t scary or intimidating and it’s absolutely necessary."
"It’s a good mechanism for how to communicate with the legislature," Malone added.
Anyone can influence legislature.
"It’s for organizations such as the Park City Chamber Bureau, but it’s also for private sector individuals that have a vested interest in seeing tourism succeed in state of Utah," Malone said.
"The tourism industry is comprised of all aspects from the private sector, hotels restaurants, guides, outfitters and ski resorts," Anderson added.
The communication, Anderson says, will be an advantage to both parties.
"Not only do we want business owners and managers to have good relations with legislatures, but a practical way of saying ‘This is what we see locally.’"
In its first year of operation, the tool kit has already made a difference.
"We’ve been told by the industry and the members that it is helpful," Anderson said. "Tools like this are necessary. Our industry needs to win over the legislature. We need to be aware. We need to help our industry communicate more effectively."
Malone has seen a positive outcome from it as well.
"I think the industry has been pretty effective in recognizing and explaining the benefits and how it’s benefited from tourism marketing," Malone said. "The governor’s budget this year, as it relates to the office of tourism and performance marketing fund, is once again fully funded. To me, that speaks to the fact that communication is working."
The tool kit has gone through some minor changes this year to make it more user friendly.
"It absolutely gives them steps A though C," Anderson said. "We want this to be a practical approach. The (legislature) still needs the support from UTIC. This is one part of how we need to enhance our communication."
Anderson hopes the kit will help citizens be part of the growing tourism industry. It will flourish only with the public’s support, she said.
"The overarching goal is to help enhance our grassroots network," Anderson said. "That’s certainly one of the intents to enhance all of our tourism industry representatives. It’s not just solely designed for legislative sessions."
With continued support, Anderson expects other counties to fall in line with Summit.
"We want to duplicate that effort in every one of Utah’s counties, Anderson said. She hopes they will understand "the importance of continued investments from the state government to market and advertise Utah as tourist destination."
Anderson says Utah’s economy will see a boost as a result. So far, the numbers have proven it.
"The state is now properly funding, advertising and marketing it and we are now seeing that advertising is working," Anderson said.
She said total spending by tourism was $5.87 billion, which was up 7.7 percent from last year. The money from tourists generated $467 million in state and local tax revenues.
"Without tourism at its current levels in Utah, each household in the state would pay $494 more in taxes in order to enjoy the same services and infrastructure that benefit all Utahns," Anderson said.
The $494 is up from $464 in 2005.
"Utah’s marketing and branding campaign and partnering strategies are working very well and should be continued," Anderson said.
To access the Advocacy Tool Kit, log on to http://www.utahtourism.org .