It has received several hundred thousand dollars as part of a 20 percent statewide cooperative marketing effort.
For example, those funds have enabled the Davis Area Convention & Visitors Bureau to further promote the message of Antelope Island. Brochures are now published in a half dozen foreign languages, while the English version is distributed throughout the Western U.S.
The island, which continues to grow in the number of visits, attracts many visitors from abroad. Such visitors often see it as the epitome of the “Wild West,” complete with its herd of bison and wide, open spaces, with an inland salton sea thrown in for good measure.
“The tourism marketing promotion fund enabled the state to finally properly brand advertising of the incredible Utah tourism product,” says Nan Anderson, executive director of the Utah Tourism Industry Coalition.
It works closely with the Davis Area CVB, Utah Hotel & Lodging Association based in Kaysville, as well as Lagoon, among its 110 members.
Anderson noted that 10 percent of the promotion funding is earmarked for sports and tourism.
That could include the South Davis Recreation Center, for example. It brings hundreds of swimming and ice skating competitors from across the state and region on a regular basis.
Davis County helped fund the ice sheet with tourism tax dollars because of its impact on bringing people from outside into the area.
The Legislature initially approved $10 million for the marketing promotion fund, skyrocketing it from a previous level of $900,000 a year – less than the tourism budget for Vail Resort in Colorado.
About 9,000 Davis County residents are employed in tourism-related jobs. While people may think of hotels first, there are many facets of the economy tied to tourism and recreation, said DACVB CEO Barbara Riddle.
Since the DACVB’s inception almost seven years ago, it has generated millions of dollars in economic impact, including $5 million in conventions and other tourist-related business last year benefiting hotels, restaurants and other facilities in the county.
Utah Hotel & Lodging Association CEO Michael Johnson, a Layton resident, said 115,200 jobs across the state are directly tied to the leisure and hospitality sector.
“Our challenge is to continue to show that tourism is delivering. We are creating jobs, are creating economic development in every one of Utah’s 29 counties,” Anderson said.
“We are cautiously optimistic that we will be able to show legislators that continued state involvement is vital,” she added.