Utah Governor is committed to tourism
According to Utah Governor Gary Herbert, his job is easy. "Not that the job isn’t hard it is hard. But it’s easy because I believe in the state. We have beauties beyond the other states in the country," he said to an audience of tourism professionals last week.
On May 13, at the Utah Tourism Conference at Canyons, Gov. Herbert spoke about Utah’s tourism industry and its role in leading economic development throughout the state.
In a statement prepared by the State of Utah Office of the Governor, in 2010 Utah saw positive results across the board with increases in travel-related tax collections, occupancy rates, visits to national and state parks and to Utah’s welcome center.
Gov. Herbert explained that Utah has one of the most diverse tourist economies in the country, with the Greatest Snow on Earth, five national parks and 43 state parks, "Utah has diverse beauty that’s unique to this area," he said.
The tourism industry in Utah brings in $6.2 billion in traveler-related spending each year. The No. 1 issue on everyone’s mind is growing the economy, Gov. Herbert explained.
"One of the best ways to do this is through tourism and travel," he said.
Gov. Herbert recently attended a travel trade show in Beijing, China, with the Utah Office of Tourism, where he discovered that government officials in Beijing see Utah as a leader in the field.
People are coming to Utah from all over the world, which proves that our efforts are working even on an international level, Gov. Herbert explained.
The tourism and travel industry provides Utah with a return on its investment. "The fact that capital is coming to us, says that people are coming to Utah," Gov. Herbert said.
Amid applause, Gov. Herbert reported that Utah was recently ranked "the hottest new luxury destination in the U.S.," for 2011 according to Luxury Travel Magazine.
Luxury resorts and properties in our state including the St. Regis, Waldorf-Astoria and Montage Deer Valley are big investments that imply that we believe in Utah, Gov. Herbert explained.
The three-day conference not only brought together Utah’s tourism officials, but also honored Utah Tourism Hall of Fame inductee Utah Senator Dennis Stowell for his service in the industry and state. Stowell died in April after and extended battle with cancer.
Nancy Dalton, byway coordinator and member and of the Utah State Scenic Byway Committee, presented Kelly Stowell (Sen. Stowell’s son) with the award.
Dalton worked with Stowell for more than 25 years, and described him as a "sharp, intelligent, wise and great leader who surrounded himself with people he knew could get the job done," she said.
Always treating people with respect, and rarely taking credit for his hard work, Dalton explained that Stowell’s shoes will be hard to fill, "It’s a loss for family and the state of Utah because he understood the state and was there to serve," Dalton said.
Kelly Stowell said that although his father was 66 years old when he passed away, they’ve been joking with family members that he accomplished enough to be 120 years old.
As reported last week, Deer Valley President Bob Wheaton was also named to the Utah Tourism Hall of Fame for his contributions to the industry.
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